Tourists’ numbers galore at Mkomazi National Park

THE number of tourists visiting Mkomazi National Park has doubled in a space of two years, thanks to Covid-19 funds.

While the home of black rhinos registered 3,240 visitors in 2020/21, the number has shot up to around 7,000 by April this year.

Briefing reporters here recently, an Assistant Conservation Commissioner with Mkomazi National Park, Emanuel Moirana said the former Game Reserve was witnessing a surge in tourists, following major rehabilitation and infrastructural upgrade in the area.

According to the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) Assistant Conservation Commissioner, a total 146-kilometer road network had been worked on, to improve accessibility of unique attractions such as the rhino sanctuary in the park.

“The number of tourists visiting our park has gone up by around 200 per cent as we expect to receive even more in the next financial year,” Mr Moirana projected.

The park which received 3.6bn/- worth of Covid-19 funds has implemented a number of projects such as the construction of two revenue collection centres at Ndea and Kamakota to the tune of 478m/- and the maintenance of its two airports, an undertaking which cost the park some 474m/-.

“The funds have literary opened up the park to more tourists as initially, we didn’t have an improved airstrip,” he explained.

The ultimate goal, according to Commissioner Moirana is to provide quality services to visitors and improved working environment to its staff.

The park derives its name from two Pare-ethnic words, Mko and Mazi which depict water shortage in the area.

Spanning at an area of 3,245 square kilometers, Mkomazi was gazetted on March 14 2008 by upgrading Mkomazi and Umba Game Reserves.

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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