That is according to official tourism figures from the Arusha-based, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), a state institution which oversees the operations of the country’s now 21 national parks.
Speaking during the annual observation of the ‘World Tourism Day,’ in Arusha, the TANAPA deputy Conservation Commissioner in charge of conservation and business development, William Mwakilema stated here that in the period spanning a decade, between 2010 and 2020 the local national parks has been getting a cumulative figure of 9,536,135 tourists.
The visitors have been generating more than 9.5 billion/- annually, which can be nearly 200 billion/ per year. This applies to national parks only, discounting conservation areas and game reserves.
“Out of the figure, we recorded 5.6 million foreign visitors and 3.9 domestic tourists,” stated Mwakilema. Apparently when citing domestic tourists, this group includes visitors from East African countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi that are usually charged local entry fees at national parks’ gates.
It was explained that, from the tourism earnings, the Tanzania national parks had managed to contribute into community development projects to the tune of 26.2billion/- benefitting a total of 1270 villages located around national parks and game reserves.
According to Mwakilema, a total of 73 villagers that have formed local entrepreneur groups, had also been receiving supporting funds amounting to 862 million/-.
The World Tourism Day 2020 which was marked with special symposium held at the National Tourism College of Arusha was under the theme of ‘Tourism and Rural Development,’ celebrating the sector’s unique ability to drive economic development and provide opportunities outside big cities, including in those communities that would otherwise be left behind.
The International ‘World Tourism Day 2020,’ was also meant to highlight the important role tourism plays in preserving and promoting culture and heritage all around the world.
The Karatu District Commissioner, Abbas Kayanda graced the occasion here and stated that the tourism sector in addition to pumping 17 per cent of gross national income, is also a goose which lays golden eggs by attracting 25 per cent of foreign earnings.