How Covid-19 funds spur Tarangire’s tourism activities

TANZANIA Covid-19 Social-Economic Response and Recovery Plan (TCRP) is now spurring tourism activities inside the Tarangire National Park.

Through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) arrangement, the home to the highest- density of elephant populations has recently seen flight frequencies within the park’s Kuro airstrip, climb from the initial 13 to 18 on a daily basis, much to the excitement of the park’s management.

Speaking here midweek, Principal Conservation Officer with the park, Gladis Ng’umbi disclosed that the park had spent a whopping 1.4bn/- worth of Covid-19 funds in the rehabilitation of not only Kuro airport, but also other major routes which once locked out tourists from accessing the park.

“Pilots landing at Kuro were always complaining about the harsh terrains, but this is no longer the case as they enjoy smooth landings following major detailed repairs at the airstrip,” the Tanzania National Park (TANAPA) officer, revealed.

The airstrip’s rehabilitation included filling of Murram, painting of edge markings and the construction of an apron at the area.

The Principal Conservation Officer further disclosed some areas of the park, including the famous Gurusi Swamp which regularly attracts elephants, lions and leopards.

This wouldn’t be possible initially, as major stretches inside the National Park were in a sorry state, according to Ms Ng’umbi.

“The feedback we are getting from tourists is so encouraging and goes to show the kind of impact these funds have had on Tarangire,” she explained.

The number of tourists sampling the sixth largest National Park in the country increased from 78,946 in 2020/2021 to 288,444, registered in 2022/2023.

The number is expected to rise, as more visitors have shown interest of touring the park which lies between the meadows of the Masai Steppe in the southeast and rift valley lakes in the north and west, according to Ms Ng’umbi.

Earlier on, TANAPA Senior Conservation Ranger in charge of the park’s infrastructure, Engineer Charles Ochieng Nyaongo said a total of 239.3 kilometers of road networks have been repaired inside the park, thanks to Covid-19 funds.

The park also received five motor grades, four water bowsers, 15 tipping trucks, which would facilitate in frequent maintenance of its infrastructure throughout the year, particularly during high seasons.

In September last year, the government secured 1.291tri/- through a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) window disbursement.

The funds focused on health, education, water, tourism, social protection, energy, economic empowerment, and coordination and administration sectors for both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar, whereby 1tri/- was meant for the former and some 230.1bn/-for the latter.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Tourism is one of the sectors most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, impacting economies, livelihoods, public services and opportunities on all continents.

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