Arusha — TANZANIA'S top three tourist attractions, the Ngorongoro Crater, the annual wildebeest migration of Serengeti and Mount Kilimanjaro have been entered into the new "Seven Natural Wonders of Africa" race but few people here know anything about it.
The Chairman of Tourism Confederation of Tanzania, Mr Gaudence Temu, said with the three natural features competing with the likes of "Sahara Desert," encompassing over ten countries in Northern Africa, 'Mount Kenya,' of Kenya and the 'Red Sea Reef' (Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea), Tanzanians need to wake up and vote for their local entries.
Poor voting from the country caused Mt Kilimanjaro to fall in the other "New Seven Wonders of Nature," campaigns that ran between 2009 and 2011, where the Table Mountain of South Africa became the only feature from the continent to make into the finals.
The "New Natural Wonders of Africa," race involves 12 tourist attraction sites on the continent and Tanzania is the only country which has the most entries in the list, including Mount Kilimanjaro, the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park.
The competing features in the "New Natural Wonders of Africa" listing include, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park, the Red-Sea Reef, the vast Sahara Desert, Zuma Rock of Nigeria, Okavango Delta of Botswana, the 'Peak of Furnace' in the Reunion Island, the 'Aldabra Atoll' of Seychelles, 'Tsingy Debemaraha' of Madagascar and the 'Avenue of Baobabs' also found in Madagascar.
"All Tanzanians and the world at large are sensitized to vote for these three attraction sites and we are currently organizing a special committee to ensure that we do not repeat the same mistake which caused Kilimanjaro to lose last year," said Mr Temu, who is also the CEO of Swissport Tanzania.
Visitors-wise, the Ngorongoro Crater located in the Ngorongoro district of Arusha seems to be the most popular, attracting over 500,000 tourists every year. Serengeti comes second with 350,000 annual visitors while Mount Kilimanjaro attracts nearly 55,000 tourists per annum.
Overall Tanzania as a country attracts around 1.2 million tourists per year, with more than 80 per cent of these ending up in the Northern Circuit where the three features are located.
The Ngorongoro Crater is managed by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), while both the Serengeti and Mount Kilimanjaro operate under the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA).
The country's tourism promotion is supposed to be done by the Tanzania Tourists Board, but for many years TANAPA and NCAA have been conducting their own marketing both abroad and domestically.