Targeting to attract more tourists from wildlife resources, Tanzania National Parks has earmarked 5 game reserves for upgrading into national parks for photographic Tanzania wildlife tourism.
When gazetted into full national parks, Tanzania will own 21 national parks conserved with wildlife and nature under the trusteeship and management of Tanzania National Parks.
Neighbors with Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and DR Congo, the new parks will provide a combined destination for tourists visiting wildlife in East Africa to combine their safari itineraries to gorilla and scenery parks of Rwanda, Uganda, and DR Congo.
The National Parks Director General, Mr. Allan Kijazi, said the wildlife reserves set for development are Kibisi, Biharamulo, Burigi, Ibanda, and Rumanyika, part of the Western tourist circuit near the shores of Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria, the biggest lakes in Africa.
Establishment of the 5 new parks will bring a total of 60,000 square kilometers of wildlife protected parks under the trusteeship and management of Tanzania National Parks from the current 56,000 square kilometers of the existing established national parks.
After establishment of the new parks to be added to the current existing 16 national parks, Tanzania will rank as the second tourist destination in Africa to own and manage national parks after South Africa which leads with 22 tourist wildlife protected parks.
South Africa is the leading tourist destination in Africa south of the Sahara with more than 20 national parks, followed by Kenya, Madagascar, Zambia, Gabon, and Zimbabwe, which are the leading sub-Sahara African destinations boasting wildlife and nature protected National Parks.
“We are now targeting the parks outside the Northern Tourist Corridor for development, marketing, and promotion to attract more tourists,” Mr. Kijazi said.
Currently, Tanzania has 4 tourist zones – the Northern, Coastal, Southern, and Western circuits. Only the northern circuit is fully developed with key tourist facilities which pulls most of the tourists visiting Tanzania every year, and enjoys high ends in tourist revenue gains.
Serengeti National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro have been rated as Premium Parks. Gombe and Mahale Chimpanzee parks in Western Tanzania are the other premium parks along with Tarangire, Arusha, and Lake Manyara, all in Northern Tanzania. Silver parks, or the less visited ones, are located in the Southern Tanzania tourist circuit and those in the Western zone.
The World Bank has approved US$150 million in September of last year to finance tourism development in Southern Tanzania. The Resilient Natural Resource Management for Tourism and Growth Project (REGROW) project will be running for 6 years.
The REGROW project targets to position the Southern Circuit to become an engine of growth through tourism development and associated benefits with promotion of the conservation of national parks and game reserves within the circuit.