TANZANIA is set to record yet another milestone on the improvement of management of natural resources and tourism assets in its southern sphere, as the Resilient Natural Resource for Tourism and Growth (REGROW) project officially kicks off today.
The project seeks to improve the management of natural resources and tourism assets in priority areas, to increase access to alternative livelihood activities for targeted communities. Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan is expected to preside over the project's launch at Kihesa grounds in Iringa, according to the Acting Head of the Government Communications Unit in the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, Mr Hamza Temba.
In November last year, the government signed a US Dollars 150million (340bn/-) loan agreement with the World Bank for implementation of the ambitious project. REGROW will cover the infrastructure gap that currently exists inside the priority protected areas, by investing in new roads and upgrading the existing network, bridges, airstrips, entry gates, ranger posts, visitors' centres, and other key assets vital for tourism promotion.
It also seeks to implement an ambitious marketing andbranding campaign, to increase tourism-related visits to the Southern Circuit. Iringa would also be turned into the gateway town for the circuit as well as improve the country's capacity to conserve its wildlife as a tourists-attracting agency.
The Southern Circuit includes several National Parks -Katavi, Kitulo, Mahale, Udzungwa Mountains, Mikumi and Ruaha and Game Reserves (with Selous being the largest), two rift valley lakes (Nyasa and Tanganyika), areas of cultural interest, and access to the primary gateway town of Iringa.
REGROW will promote investments inside four Protected Areas, considered to be catalytic for the consolidation of the circuit: Ruaha, Mikumi and Udzungwa Mountains National Park, and Selous Game Reserve. According to Mr Temba, implementation of the project will begin with priority areas