IF travelling long distances in search of tourist attractions deters you from doing domestic tourism, the challenge may soon be over as the government moves to decentralize tourism centres.
Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Damas Ndumbaro acknowledged that having many tourist attractions within only few specific places is hampering growth of domestic tourism in the country.
“What we are now doing is to decentralize the tourism centres by bringing them closer to the people in order to make more Tanzanians able to go for domestic tourism, and thus boost government revenues in the process,” Dr Ndumbaro told the ‘Sunday News’ during a telephone interview yesterday.
He argued that for many years now, tourism centres were jam-packed in only a few regions, with Arusha being the most popular.
“This has been so difficult for people, for instance, it is unfair for people from regions such as Kagera, Simiyu or Mwanza being forced to go as far as Arusha for domestic tourism. We want to have many centres across the country to localize tourism and thus address this challenge,” the minister explained.
He said the recent move to declare Chato district as a tourism hub in the Lake Zone was in line with efforts to decentralize the tourism centres in the country.
Lake Zone was among the country’s areas where the government was yet to identify a tourism hub.
Dr Ndumbaro said declaring Chato a tourism hub will bring benefits to the nation since revenues coming from tourism in the district will go to the public coffers to finance development projects.
So far, there are tourism hubs for Eastern Zone (Dar es Salaam), Southern Highlands (Iringa) and Northern Circuit (Arusha).
The minister noted that Chato had qualities of being crowned as a tourism hub, noting that the district is endowed with different kinds of tourist attractions, ranging from wild animals, ecotourism and marine tourism.
“Because of its qualities, we have chosen Chato district to become a tourism hub for the Lake Zone,” Dr Ndumbaro stated recently, noting that its attractions recently got a boost following the construction and launching of the Geita Airport, which will facilitate bringing in tourists into the district.
Dr Ndumbaro made the declaration on Chato district this week when he visited the Biharamulo tree farm in Geita Region.
“Chato is a tourism hub because of so many reasons, including varieties of tourism attractions, including ecotourism and lakes which can enable marine tourism, Chato district also has national parks, for instance the Burigi National park,” the minister said.
The district is also calm, which is a favourite condition for tourists, Dr Ndumbaro added.
When he visited the Biharamulo tree farm under the Tanzania Forest Services Agency (TFS), the minister directed TFS to speed up the exercise of planting more trees.
The Biharamulo tree farm is one of the largest farms in the country on which the TFS grows trees for different purposes, including conservation.