Arusha — THE Tanzania National Parks is gearing towards getting the International Standards Organisation (ISO) certification for improved service provision in its tourism division.
Speaking in an interview with the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) television, the Director General for TANAPA, Dr Allan Kijazi said the process to acquire ISO certification has reached promising levels and that once National Parks gets this accreditation, the country's tourism industry profile will reach higher levels.
TANAPA plans to record 1.03 million tourists that are expected to visit its National Parks this year and that in the course of next year, at least 1.14 million tourists will sample the attractions. The institution contributes 37bn/- to the national coffers from its tourism activities and targets to increase this reach 45bn/- in the coming fiscal year 2018/19.
Tanzania receives around 1.4 million tourists per annum, but 90 per cent of this traffic usually heads to the well-known Northern Zone attractions of Serengeti National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Crater.
The Tanzania National Parks itself oversees a total of 16 Game Parks in the country but its cash cows are mainly the Serengeti National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks.
To offset that dependency onto the Northern Zoon Circuit, TANAPA has jumped onto the government's bandwagon to open up the Southern Circuit through the 'Resilient Natural Resource Management for Tourism and Growth (REGROW) Project.
Launched recently, the REGROW project targets to strengthen the management of protected areas and promote nature-based tourism in Southern Tanzania, in the tourism precinct known as the 'Southern Circuit' and contribute to the diversification of livelihoods in selected communities.
"We are starting with the aggressive promotion of Ruaha, which is the country's largest National Park; Mikumi and Udzungwa Mountains," explained Dr Kijazi. He assured that poaching activities in his parks have almost disappeared and some of the existing conflicts between members of the local communities and management of National Parks are in the process of being solved amicably.