‘Go for untapped opportunities on Mt K’njaro to boost revenue’

Authorities in the tourism sector have been urged to focus on untapped opportunities that are found on Mount Kilimanjaro while mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change on Africa’s highest peak.

The advice was given recently, by Dr Halima Kilungu from the Open University of Tanzania when presenting a paper during the symposium which was organised to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) held in Moshi Kilimanjaro Region.

“There has been some information in recent years, showing that the disappearance of the ice on Mount Kilimanjaro which was caused by among other factors climate change, will affect all tourist activities on the mountain”, she said, adding, while considering that factor, experts within the tourism sector should realise that there were other profitable opportunities.

She added, “It should be understood that there are still many other opportunities that are available on Mount Kilimanjaro and the area surrounding the mountain, which if well utilised will increase revenues generated from the mountain attractions,”.

Dr Kilungu continued to say that KINAPA’s tourism is about the adventure of reaching the Uhuru peak summit peak yet, depends on better climate conditions and other sensitive tourist attractions like snow and climate zonation.

“A general description of attractions such as snow and wildlife is too inaccurate to understand the impact of climate change on individual attractions; the effects of climate and land-cover change bring new attractions and omit some attractions,” she said in her presentation titled Climate Change and Land Use on mount Kilimanjaro Ecosystem.

She said that relevant authorities in the tourism sector including the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and KINAPA management teams should explore spatial and temporal shifts in the availability of other tourist attractions over time.

“There are other attractions which if promoted and well marketed could attract more tourists to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to visit them apart from that of reaching the Uhuru peak alone”, she said, this will lead to the increase of government income accrued from the newly marketed activities on the mountain.

She named the attractions as those of different types of flowers, wildlife, waterfalls in the forest, moorland vegetation, unique rocks in the alpine desert as well as the Shira Plateau and its everlasting flowers.

On his part Dr James Wakibara from the College of African Wildlife Management Mweka (CAWM-Mweka), said while celebrating the 50th anniversary of KINAPA’s presence, there was a need to strengthen conservation activities so that the national park which houses Africa’s highest peak could continue to be a better place for visitors.

“While we celebrate 50 years of KINAPA still there are conservation threats within the park, which include that of the loss of habitat due to the destruction of the environment,” he said in his presentation titled, The Conservation of Mount Kilimanjaro: Potentials Challenges and Way Forward.

He named the other threats as those of poaching, wildlife fires, blockage of wildlife corridors, encroachments, retaliatory wildlife killings, human-wildlife conflicts, livestock-wildlife diseases, water stress for both humans and wildlife as well as climate change.

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