Officiating at the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) 2020 Tourism and Conservation Awards, the minister said this endorsement by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) shall boost tourist arrivals in the country.
“We have also been permitted to use the ‘Safe Travels’ stamp of the global tourism council,” he said.
In this year’s awards, night game driving in parks, using bicycles to climb mountains, serving hot meals in the middle of the jungle; floating in hot air balloons and peddling boats in wilderness lakes are among alternative forms of tourism recognized.
The 2020 awards recognized outstanding firms, organizations and individuals that have played major roles in the travel and hospitality industry, pivoted within the country’s game parks.
In overall performance, Arusha-based Leopard Tours took the first position, followed by Moshi-based Zara International Travel, while third placed was Ranger Safaris of Arusha, reputed as the country’s oldest tour company.
In the same order the three safari companies were awarded the ‘Best Tour Operators’ award in the Northern Zone, having shown proven resilience even during the darker months of the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to temporary closure of the local and global travel industry.
In the different forms of tourism category, Kili World Safaris was awarded for the innovative cycling on mountains, with Four Seasons Safari Lodge in the Serengeti recognized for organizing hot and fresh ‘bush meals’ in the wilderness.
Nomad Tanzania was awarded for ‘night game driving’ experiences, with Abercrombie and Kent listed for canopy walkway tours. Serengeti Balloon Safari was similarly saluted for skyline ballooning over national parks.
In other awards, Ahsante Tours was recognized for conducting the technical Mawenzi climbing experience. Mawenzi is the second highest peak on Mount Kilimanjaro, after Kibo, but it is reputedly more difficult to scale.
The TANAPA Commissioner for Conservation, Dr Allan Kijazi said that without efforts by tour companies and hotel operators, TANAPA would not have managed to chalk up the number of visitors the country gets, and its revenue impact.
“We certainly need to recognize all our partners in tourism and conservation and especially during the tough times of the coronavirus pandemic when, despite dark clouds, they maintained their unwavering performance,” said Dr Kijazi.
The parks chief was recently appointed to serve as Deputy Permanent Secretary in the ministry.