Tanzania: 'We'll Simplify Wildlife Filming Procedure

Geita — The government says it will simplify procedure for acquisition of wildlife filming permits in a new move to promote photographic tourism and the newly created national parks.

"Wildlife filming permits should be issued with convenience without delay. We will simplify the process of issuing them," said the permanent secretary in the Tourism ministry, Prof Adolf Mkenda.

The promise answers long time plight of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (Tato) who have urged authorities to relax issuance of filming permits to foreign and local filmmakers as one of the key aspects of promoting tourism in Tanzania.

Tato's delegation had an opportunity to engage Prof Mkenda during a familiarization tour at the newly created Ibanda-Kyerwa and Burigi-Chato national parks where they had a bushwalk experience and later formal talks with the PS in an evening campfire.

Prof Mkenda assured Tato officials that procedure for securing filming permits would be eased, adding that films or documentaries could expose the beauty of the country to potential visitors and investors across the globe.

The PS implored the Tato members to work with the government in promoting the newly gazetted national parks.

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Tato's plea was for the PS to give a word on the wildlife filming permits.

Recently, the Parliament passed a bill that made it difficult for foreign companies to obtain permits for filming in Tanzania.

With the new legislation, foreign companies filming in Tanzania must give the government the right to vet raw footage and let the country use the movie in promotional material.

"This ... requires any foreign production company or individual using Tanzania's country, content or location for filming whole or any part of a film, advertisement, documentary or program to submit their raw footage to the Tanzania Film Board," Attorney General Adelardus Kilangi said then.

Filmmakers must also submit a finished copy of their works to the Tanzania Film Board (TFB) or a delegated authority to get a clearance, he said.

Foreign individuals or companies are also required to allow the government to use video clips or the whole film to promote Tanzania and its culture.

Opposition groups said the bill which still has to be approved by the president - would likely squash the country's fledgling foreign film ventures.

"Embodying these requirements in a law is like pushing away the individuals from working in Tanzania. These are not friendly conditions, instead of promoting the industry they will hold it back," said Salome Makamba, an opposition lawmaker.

Tourism based filmmaker who preferred anonymity said that if the law enforced would immediately kill Tanzania as filming destination.

The source further warned that the worst scenario the key filmmakers would shun away from filming Tanzania and focus on Botswana, South Africa and any other African countries with almost the same wildlife.

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