2 November 2012

Tanzania: Tourist Attractions Best in Africa, Says Minister

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Dodoma — TANZANIA tourism is currently underperforming in the sector with an average of 800,000 tourists per annum. The Deputy Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu told the National Assembly that the number of tourists is very low compared to the quality tourist attractions in the country.

"The World Bank report released recently has shown that Tanzania has more tourist destinations than most countries in Africa but we have not been able to do better in the industry when compared to other countries in Africa," he said.Mr Nyalandu was responding to the question by Mr Sylvester Mabumba (Dole-CCM) who wanted to know over how much the government has earned in the period of six years since 2006 from the sector.

He also wanted to know the number of tourists to the country for the period in question and the government plans to make the tourism destinations in the country known both inside the country and abroad.Mr Nyalandu said that between 2006 and now, some 4.4million tourists have visited various destinations in the country.

"Out of 4.4 million tourists, 3.7m toured national parks....and 224,778 climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and 41,918 visited the grave of the Father of the Nation Mwalimu Nyerere," he said.He, however, noted that it is possible that one tourist might have toured the same place twice or more in the given period and thus might have been counted more than one time.

"In this period revenues in terms of foreign currency increased from 950 million USD in 2006 to 1.32million USD in 2011," he said.Mr Nyalandu noted that the government was planning to increase the number of beds available in the country as a way of attracting more tourists."In Kenya Mombasa and the Island of Lamu have over 28,000 beds which are more than twice of the beds in the whole of Tanzania which has 15,000 beds. This is a set back and we would like to do something about it," he said.

He added that the number of all beds in Tanzania is almost equal to the beds available in Nairobi, Kenya alone.Meanwhile, the government will evaluate and compensate villagers who have their activities within the Sao Hill Forest Reserve.Mr Nyalandu said that the area of 550 hectare at Ihomasa village has been invaded by villagers who have cultivated food crops and planted trees. They have also invaded a water catchment forest.

He added that other villagers from Udumuka have invaded some 139 hectares also planting trees and doing agricultural activities. He was responding to a question posed by Mendrad Kigola (Mufindi South-CCM) who wanted to know as to whether the government would consider reviewing its boundaries at the forest and leave out the invaded areas to villagers.The forest has an area of 1851.8 hectares and was established in 1954 through a Government Announce (GA) number 450 of 24.04.1954.

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