For the past ten years, Tanzanians have registered tremendous growth in the tourism industry. The tourism industry heartening growth has not happened automatically, but this has only been possible through hard work.
President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete has been on the frontline in championing the growth of the industry through his roles as president.
The president has been a real catalyst that has enabled the tremendous growth of the industry.
Through various local and international forums, the president has left no stone unturned in luring foreign tourists to come to the country and visit the various tourist attractions that include Mount Kilimanjaro, the roof top of Africa.
Today the industry is a leading forex spinner after the mining sector as a result of a job well done by Tanzanians in selling and advertising its tourist attractions to the global population.
President Kikwete has been the driving force behind all these achievements realised in many areas including the tourism industry.
The president all the time has maintained peace and order and has worked relentlessly to improve economic stability, maintain tranquility with its neighbours and good international relations.
Economic gains that had been realised through Kikwete’s administration had further boosted attractions to tourists and investors. The soft spoken president has been friendly to people and all the time prefers dialogue in sorting out conflicts.
Approximately 38 percent of Tanzania’s land area is set aside in protected areas for conservation. There are 16 national parks, 29 game reserves, 40 controlled conservation areas (including the Ngorongoro Conservation Area) and marine parks.
Tanzania is also home to the famous Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa. Travel and tourism contributed 12.7 per cent of Tanzania’s gross domestic product and employed 11.0 per cent of the country’s labor force (1,189,300 jobs) in 2013.
The sector is growing rapidly, rising from US dollars 1.74 billion in 2004 to US dollars 4.48 billion in 2013. In 2012, 1,043,000 tourists arrived at Tanzania’s borders compared to 590,000 in 2005.
Tanzania’s most well known tourist attractions are located in the northern part of the country and include Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.
Serengeti National Park is world famous and has spectacular seasonal migrations of animals. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area includes the Ngorongoro Crater, which is an extinct volcanic caldera with lions, hippopotamus, elephants, various types of antelope, the endangered black rhinoceros, and large herds of wildebeest and zebra.
Lake Manyara, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Rubondo island, Tarangire and Saanane Island national parks are also located in the north.
The western part of Tanzania includes the Mahale, Katavi and Gombe national parks, and national parks, the latter of which is the site of Jane Goodall’s is ongoing study, begun in 1960, of chimpanzee behaviour.
The southern part of Tanzania includes the Ruaha, Kitulo, Mikumi and Udzungwa national parks and the Selous Game Reserve.
Tourism is also focused on the coast, including Saadani National Park and especially the islands of Unguja and Pemba in Zanzibar and Mafia Island further south. Game fishing and diving are the main attractions in these islands. There is also a wide variety of destinations for cultural tourism such as Maasai boma and Bushmen settlements.
Many people especially of the opposition camp were against the president’s frequent visits to Europe and America to a point of likening him with (Vasco de Gama).
His trips have been very useful to this young developing nation. Through those trips, the president made talks, negotiations and ultimately signed very useful agreements for this country that had positive impact in pushing ahead our social and economic growth.
Remember, the president was previously a foreign minister and had developed international relations with almost all friendly nations.