THE Tanzania Marine Parks and Reserves is joining its counterparts on land - the Tanzania National Parks Authority and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) in going digital with the aim of increasing revenue collection.
The Acting Marine Parks and Reserves Unit Manager, Dr Malali Machumu exclusively told the 'Daily News on Saturday' that the board had agreed to start using electronic gadgets at various points in the country, for those wanting to visit some of the small islands in the country.
"Since the board has agreed, we will start this exercise immediately. We will start with a pilot project for the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserves and plan to have an electronic teller machine at either Slipway or White Sands Hotel before branching out to other points," he explained.
Dar es Salaam Marine Reserves comprises Bongoyo Island, Mbudya Island, Pangavini and Funguyasini Marine Reserves. The reserves system has a total area of 15sqkm, with Mbudya Island Marine Reserve being the largest and Funguyasini Island, the smallest.
Dr Machumu said that they were currently looking for a company or bank to partner with, adding that with increased number of tourists and locals with credit cards, going digital was a positive move.
"Though we now have the go ahead to go digital, we will try not to rush through it because of the lurking presence of hackers. We are looking at the cost issue and want to have few points while at the same time meeting our objective," he explained.
The Marine Parks and Reserves Head of Tourism Services Department, Mr Ildefonce Masekesa said they had already identified the banks that they want to work with and were soon starting discussions.
"We want to have paying points not only in Dar es Salaam but also in Mafia Island and Mnazi Bay by the end of this financial year," he cited. According to Conde Nast Traveller website, Tanzania is among the top ten destinations for 2014, declaring that 'beach and bush' breaks are becoming quite the thing.
"Travellers want world-class coastlines and wildlife to match - and Tanzania has the best of both worlds, in glorious, wild abundance," a posting on the website reads in part. The site says that Tanzania's Spice Islands are the stuff of fantasy.
The Zanzibar archipelago and Mafia islands are blessed with deserted beaches of white sand, powdery as icing-sugar, lapped by the impossibly blue waters of the Indian Ocean. "People are talking about Zanzibar as 'the next Mauritius',' says Peter Browne, Condé Nast Traveler Associate Editor and Africa expert.
"And the little islands around Zanzibar are even more interesting, in an eco-y way." Like its Indian Ocean neighbour, Zanzibar has its fair share of luxury resorts. La Residence - regarded as one of the best hotels on Mauritius - opened a sister hotel on Zanzibar a couple of years ago, all dark wood and sustainable ethos.
On Pemba, the world's first underwater room has just opened, like sleeping in an aquarium. And Mnemba Private Island is, as Condé Nast Traveller contributor Claire Gervat puts it: 'For Robinson Crusoes who require three Man Fridays to look after them.
It's a type of barefoot luxury that's hard to resist.' Tanzania received more than 1 million tourists in 2011, generating more than 1.7bn US Dollars in revenue and that this figure is projected to double by the end of 2014.