THE government has embarked on a serious promotion campaign of its five newly upgraded Lake Zone based national parks, calling for the investors to seize different available opportunities found in those attractions.
Speaking shortly after opening a meeting he chaired between government officers and a section of investors here at the weekend, Tourism and Natural Resources Deputy Minister Constantine Kanyasu said the State was determined to turn the Lake Zone into one of the potential tourism destinations.
Mr Kanyasu said deliberate efforts were now directed at ensuring that tourist attraction in the Lake Zone circuit were promoted, challenging the private sector to seize the opportunity for a win-win economic situation.
"For years we have been depending on safari tourism mainly in the Northern Zone based attractions but we have decided to focus on new tourism areas, hence upgrading five game reserves in the Lake Zone to become national parks," he said.
Of late, he said, the government was eyeing improving different infrastructures in order to facilitate transportation of tourists to those areas, citing the construction of Chato Airport in Geita Region and massive ongoing rehabilitation and expansion of Mwanza Airport among others in the pipeline.
According to the deputy minister, the tourism sector in the country was still lagging behind in a number of areas despite improved contributions in the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with 2018 reports, indicating that it contributed 2.4bn US dollars (about 5tl/-) from around 1.5 million tourists.
The ministry's Permanent Secretary, Prof Adolph Mkenda, pointed out that the new five national parks of Biharamulo, Burigi, Kimisi, Ibanda and Rumanyika Orugundi are on the world tourist map and now require intensive promotion.
He highlighted a number of strategies in store, including the State's agenda to promote the industry according to geographical locations, citing the Lake Zone and Southern circuit as some of the priority tourism areas in need of strong investments.
Besides Safari tourism, the PS said beach tourism and cultural tourism attractions would be promoted to the maximum, adding that the government was currently reviewing some laws, policies and regulations to accommodate new demands in implementing the agenda.
The Commissioner of Conservations, Dr Allan Kijazi, mentioned a number of strategies for establishing tourism infrastructures.
"We have set aside funds to make sure that by 2020, 500km of roads are constructed to allow free passage of tourist convoys, with 3.9bn/- being allocated for this financial year alone," he said.
Last Saturday, Parliament approved the upgrading of five game reserves to national parks.
In February this year, Parliament approved the upgrading of Biharamulo, Burigi, Kimisi, Ibanda and Rumanyika game reserves, making 22 the total number of national parks managed by TANAPA in what the Speaker Job Ndugai described as another milestone in the country's wildlife conservation.
TANAPA manages the nation's 17 national parks which cover approximately 15 per cent of the land area and has the mandate to conserve and manage the wildlife in Tanzania, and to enforce the related laws and regulations in the industry.