The number of tourist’s arrivals at Isimila Stone Age Site in Iringa Region has not been improving because the area has not been given the promotion it deserves.
Site’s Manager and Conservator Joseph Raymond Temu told The Guardian in an interview that Iringa Region has been receiving very small number of tourists, adding that even the understanding of the travel industry and the site by residents is very minimal.
The decline in tourist arrivals is attributed by inadequate government funds to conduct tourism promotional campaign for the region and lack of funds from local communities, he said.
Most people from the local communities around Isimila do not visit the site because they are low-income earners depending largely on agricultural activities, he said.
He said the site is looking for financial assistance from donors and private firms so as to promote the area and preserve the archaeological site.
He said, the site management also plans come up with different products, including cooperating residents from the nearby area so as to raise their incomes.
“We have decided to embark on this initiative because the budget which we normally receive from the government is not enough,” he said.
He said, besides their plans to promote the place, the want the ministry of natural resources and tourism to look at the Isimila Stone Age site, and allocate enough funds for it.
Isimila is located at Ugwachanya village about 21 km south of Iringa municipality on the Tanzam Highway.
Apart from that the majestic sand stone pillars at Isimila Gorge have impressed many tourists from many parts of the world.
He said an interesting part of one’s visit is a walk up of the nearby gorge where there are several eroded cliffs standing like stone pillars with column towers overhead.
“These are sometimes called earth pillars standing in arrays along a 2km gorge and the height of each is variable ranging between 20-30 feet high from the basement of the eroded land,” he said.
Isimila has both archeological and geographical value, he said noting that other than heritage and economic importance, it is also anthropological and historical site, and a focal point for education, research and recreation for tourists.