Speaking at the weekend during a stakeholders’ meeting which brought together ministerial officials and tourism sector investors, the Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Constantine Kanyasu said the government is working to ensure a conducive environment for private investors in the area.
The former forest reserves that were elevated to national parks are Burigi, Biharamulo, Kimisi, Ibanda and Rumanyika-Orugundu, located in Kagera and Geita regions.
The upgrade has seen the 4,702 square kms- Biharamulo, Burigi and Kimisi game reserves being merged and become one national park. It is located in Biharamulo, Ngara, Karagwe and Muleba districts in Kagera region and in Chato district, Geita region.
The other national park (Ibanda) will cover 248 square kms in Kyerwa District and the 225 square kms-Rumanyika-Orugundu national park in Karagwe District in Kagera region.
Kanyasu said the new tourism corridor requires heavy investment that can only be achieved if the government works closely with the private sector, as the engine of tourism in the country.
The meeting was convened for the government to introduce the new opportunities to investors and for investors to air the challenges they face and recommendations they would make.
The government has done most of its part in preparing the investment environment especially in the area of infrastructure, he said, noting that most roads to the new national parks are paved, in addition to Mwanza international airport and the recently-opened Chato airport.
Kanyasu told the attendees that much needs to be done to promote Destination Tanzania because the country has numerous and popular attractions but the number of tourists arriving every year is not impressive compared to other countries.
“We need to double our efforts to promote our attractions both locally and internationally,” he said.
Speaking at the meeting, the chairman of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) Wilbard Chamburo advised the government not to regularly change tourism development policies as the changes scare away investors.
“Investors want market predictability so that they can plan for a profit after paying stipulated taxes,” he said.
Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa) director general Dr Allan Kijazi told this paper earlier this year that the authority expects to spend 3.9bn/- in the coming financial year for the development of the new national parks.
The funds will be used to strengthen security, build important tourism infrastructures and enhance administrative capacity, he had projected.