State eyes more tourists in southern circuit

THE Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism is taking a number of initiatives, including improving road infrastructures within the Ruaha National Park for the sake of attracting more tourists in the southern circuit.

Deputy Minister Marry Masanja made the statement in response to a question by Special Seats MP Grace Tendega (Chadema) who asked on a number of tourists visited Ruaha National Park in the year 2019/20 and plans to increase more visitors.

Ms Masanja said, apart from improving road infrastructure, the government has also been working on the airstrip within the national park, improving the hospitality sector as well as promoting the available tourism destinations   internationally.

She said, in the financial year 2019/20, the Ruaha National Park received 18,678 tourists including 11,601 foreigners and 7,077 domestic tourists.

Recent statistics by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show a sharp rise of backpackers to 1,175,697 visitors between January and October, last year, compared to 716,741 during the corresponding period 2021.

The statistics shows that there was a noticeable increase of 458,956 tourists, which is equivalent to a 64 per cent rise, attributing the increase to the much-publicised Royal Tour documentary and other initiatives by the government.

In October 2022 alone the number of tourists who entered the country increased to 141,517, compared to 92,345 visitors in 2021, which is equivalent to a 53.2 per cent increase.

NBS figures shows that from the African continent, Kenya was leading by the large number of tourists who visited Tanzania in October last year with 15,701 tourists, followed by Burundi (8,929 tourists), South Africa (3,802), Rwanda (3,715) and Uganda (3,229).

More so, France recorded the highest number of tourist arrivals from outside Africa with 12,543 tourists, followed by the United States of America (USA) with 9,097 tourists, Germany (8,874), United Kingdom (6,514) and Italy (4,557).

In another development, the deputy minister said the government is undertaking a verification exercise so as to put border marks on villages surrounding Litumbandyosi forest reserve in Mbinga district, Ruvuma region.

She said while conducting an exercise the ministry is fully engaging villagers of Ndongosi, Mtunduaro, Litumbandyosi and Kiwombi for effective identification of demarcation of the villages and forest reserve.

Her explanations were in response to the question by Mbiga rural MP Benaya Kapiga who asked on when the government will put demarcation points on Ndongosi, Mtunduaro, Litumbandyosi and Kiwombi villages to the Lutumbayosi villages.

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