One of the country’s tour operators, Moustafa Khataw, said southern circuit has been neglected basically due to poor road conditions as well as limitation of accommodation facilities.
“There is need to give emphasis on marketing this area by Tanzania Tourist Board,” said Khataw, who is also the chairman of Tanzania Society of Travel Agents (Tasota).
He asked the board to promote the untapped tourism potentials in Southern circuit Tanzania since it can help improve living standard of local residents and boost income to state coffers.
“There are so many tourism potentials in Southern highland region which need intensive promotion,” Khataw said yesterday in Dar es Salaam.
“As players in the sector, we’re urging the government to improve infrastructure in Southern Circuit which can attract more local and international tourists.”
However the government has already start taking measure to improve infrastructure in Southern Circuit of Tanzania.
Speaking during an event to launch a project dubbed resilient natural resources for tourism and growth (REGROW) mid this year in Iringa region, Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan was quoted as urging improvement of Nduli airport and road infrastructure going to Ruaha national park in Iringa region to increase tourism activities in Tanzania.
The VP said concerted efforts were needed to improve the airport and road to Ruaha National Park. The USD 150 million ambitious project is a loan from the World Bank which was signed last year between the government and WB.
“We should give first priority for improvement of Nduli airport and infrastructures leading to Ruaha National Park to improve tourism services in Southern Circuit, “VP said.
According to the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, REGROW project will help improve management of natural resources and assets in Southern circuit.
Some of the areas that would be covered by the project include roads, bridges, airstrips, entry gates, ranger posts and visitors’ centre in the southern circuit.
They also include several National Parks -Katavi, Kitulo, Mahale, Udzungwa Mountains, Mikumi and Ruaha and Game Reserves (with Selous being the largest), two rift valley lakes (Nyasa and Tanganyika), areas of cultural interest, and access to the primary gateway town of Iringa.
“Tourism is a key element of Tanzania’s economy, contributing to roughly 10 percent of GDP in 2015,” according to the World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Malawi, Somalia and Burundi.
“The country is endowed with world renowned biodiversity and wildlife attractions, but most people tend to be familiar with just its Northern Circuit. The assets of the Southern Circuit can increase the number of tourists arriving to the country, thus increasing economic benefits and promoting wildlife conservation. For this to happen, infrastructure and services needs to be improved, and the destination needs to be further promoted to potential visitors.”
The number of visitors has doubled over a short period, from about 500,000 in 2000 to over 1 million in 2015. Due to its success in attracting higher-spending tourism, the country now boasts the highest revenue/tourist ratio in Sub-Saharan Africa.