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Marking 50 years of independence

Foreign diplomats familiarize with Tanzania's leading tourist sites

Apolinari Tairo, eTN Tanzania  Oct 12, 2011

TANZANIA (eTN) - As part of events to mark its fifty years of self-governance, Tanzania invited and organized a special, diplomatic tour for foreign diplomats accredited in Tanzania to visit key tourist hot-spots, including the famous Serengeti National Park.

The nearly week-long tour attracted 32 ambassadors, high commissioners, consuls, and representatives from multi-lateral corporations to visit the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Laetoli Footprint site, Zanzibar beaches of the Indian Ocean, and the African village of Butiama on the shores of Lake Victoria, a place where Tanzania's founder President Dr. Julius Nyerere was born 89 years ago.

Tanzania's Foreign Minister Bernard Membe led the diplomatic expedition to visit the leading tourist sites, while passing through other tourist-attractive sites in northern Tanzania including Mount Kilimanjaro and Lake Manyara National Park.

Mr. Bernard Membe said the diplomatic tour was meant to expose Tanzania's tourism to foreign representatives so as to allow them to relay back messages to their home countries to attract visitors from respective states.

Among the fascinating places they visited, was the Laetoli historical site where footprints believed to be of early man on Earth were discovered, estimated to be over 3.5 million years old.

Mr. Membe said more findings are likely to emerge if research were to concentrate on the earlier archaeological work already done at the Olduvai Gorge in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, closer to the footprints’ site. The Olduvai Gorge not only recorded the diversity of life in the Pliocene savanna, but more significantly, it offers unique evidence of the bipedalism in hominids from 3.6 million years ago.

Tanzania will be marking its fifty years of independence from Britain as a year- long celebration, while the government is working closely with tour operators to create special safari packages that will be diverse and affordable, enabling many people to experience Tanzania during this exciting period.

Tourism is one of Tanzania’s fastest-growing economic sectors, with 782,669 arrivals worldwide in 2010, representing a 9 percent increase over 2009. In the United States, Tanzania’s number-one source of tourism, tour operators reported a tremendous increase in bookings this year, and for 2012 and 2013, there is reportedly several bookings already in place.

The result of this growth is an increased demand for expanding hotel capacity as well as flights, especially to Kilimanjaro International Airport, which is the gateway to the famous icons in the north, made up of Mount Kilimanjaro, Serengeti National Park, and the Ngorongoro Crater.

As the country celebrates 50 years of a peaceful and stable democracy, Tanzania continues to be a prosperous and investment-friendly country, despite several hurdles impeding a smooth growth in tourism.

Foreign diplomats familiarize with Tanzania's leading tourist sites
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