By Apolinari Tairo
Published July 13, 2018
Tanzania’s objection to the implementation of the protocol in the East African Community (EAC) charter on joint tourism marketing of the East Africa Tourism region as a single destination could scuttle the initiative.
The tourism and wildlife protocol ratified seven years ago was not implemented after Tanzania kept pushing for changes to allow each country to market its tourist products individually.
Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda, which had maintained their positions not to change the protocol or the wildlife and tourism charter ratified by the council of ministers, went dormant after Tanzania maintained its position to market its key tourist attractions under its own banner.
Hamisi Kigwangala, Tanzania’s Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism,maintained that each member state should retain its identity when marketing its tourist products and services.
Dr Kigwangala said that Tanzania has been looking for changes in the protocol so as to safeguard its own tourist attractions by virtue of prominence and size.
“Tanzania controls a big area of its land conserved for wildlife and nature tourism at 32 percent of the whole land, while Kenya had set just 7 percent of its land for conservation of wildlife and nature,” said Kigwangala.
About 300 000 square kilometers out of 945 000 square kilometers, or the total area of Tanzania, has been set for conservation of wildlife and nature, including forests and wetlands.
There are 16 national parks in Tanzania covering 50 000 sq km of land, while Selous Game Reserve covers 54,000 sq. km. The rest of the area – about 300 000 sq km – is conserved with game reserves, open wildlife areas, and forests.
Sections 115(1-3) and 116 of the East African Community treaty state that the bloc can establish policies, strategies, and other ways to promote tourism while each country remains the key custodian and administrator of all wildlife and tourism activities within its borders.
Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and the mountain gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda are the known tourist attractions not available among the rest of the member states. The 2 famous attractions are the East African Community tourist icons pulling high-class visitors to the region.
Kenya and Tanzania have been tourist business rivals in the East African Community bloc. It is estimated that about 30 to 40 percent of the 1.3 million tourists visiting Tanzania each year pass through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi before crossing into the Tanzanian national parks in the northern circuit.
Tanzania attracted 1.3 million tourists who injected a total of US dollars 2.2 billion last year.
An eTurboNews article