THE government is banking on the envisioned Chato Airport in spurring tourism growth in the country’s western corridor.
Deputy Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources, Constantine Kanyasu said here yesterday that the 39bn/- airport project is strategically placed in promoting tourism destinations found in the area.
“The western corridor wasn’t doing well in the tourism front because there were some logistical challenges of getting there, but with the airport taking shape, we are confident that it will promote tourism of the area,” explained Mr Kanyasu while fielding questions from journalists at the Tanzanian National Parks (Tanapa) headquarters.
With the government having bought half-a-dozen new planes, including a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the minister exuded confidence, saying the move will make the attractions readily accessible by tourists, particularly the Burigi-Chato national park which was upgraded from a game reserve status.
“The airport sits less than 150kilometers from the Burigi- Chato National Park which is revered for rich wildlife diversity and an endorheic basin,” he said.
Accessing the western corridor used to be an expensive affair for tourists and other travellers, according to Mr Kanyasu, adding that the construction of the airport will spare would-be travellers and tourists the burden and the hassle of accessing destinations found in the area.
He further revealed that the government had earmarked the Burigi-Chato National Park as a potential area for investment, noting that they were now liaising with potential investors in establishing ventures such as beach hotels.
Apart from rich wildlife that the park is endowed with, Burigi- Chato is also an ideal area for boat excursions and sports fishing due to the presence of Lake Burigi which is inhabited by hippos and a variety of fish species.
Measuring 4,702square kilometers, Burigi-Chato was part of Biharamulo, Burigi and Kimisi game reserves before their merger by the government.
In the same vein, the deputy minister emphasized that Tanzania was yet to optimally maximize its tourism potential, despite the abundance of natural resources at its disposal.
He observed that the country only enjoys 30 per cent of its resources, urging investors to capitalise on the potential areas for investing. “We have so many national parks, but we haven’t optimally utilised our wealth,” he said.