Published April 11, 2011
Tanzania has the world’s most famous wildlife documentary favourite – the Serengeti Park, which is at the top of the list of Africa’s most popular destinations and most attractive national parks. Most people could see various documentaries about the largest mammal migration on the planet that takes place there. Stunning beaches add to the attractions available in the East African hotspot. However, many in the tourism sector agree that Tanzania is not doing enough to market and support its assets to attract more tourism business. In fact, studies show that Tanzania is becoming less popular with tourists and has actually dropped 12 places in global rankings from 98th to 110th position.
So what is the reason behind the underachievement? The most obvious answer is a lack of suitable infrastructure. The biggest obstacle is that the Serengeti Park, most of which is in Tanzania, is somewhat inaccessible by road, rail or by air. This not only creates a problem for tourists in Tanzania, yet also destroys the reputation of the country outside.
Perhaps the greatest damage to to Tanzania is that country’s government’s decision to build a 33-mile long road, which will create a crucial link between the east coast ports, Tanzania’s biggest city Dar es Salaam and Lake Victoria. Though a crucial linksuch road is likely to put an end to the world famous wildebeeste migration.
Serengeti National Park in Tanzanie attracts 90,000 tourists every year, most of whom come to witness the unrivalled spectacle of the greatest animal migration in the world. Some 1.5 million zebra and wildebeest move north, along with gazelle and packs of predators. Once the wet season finishes, between April and June, the animals migrate closer to the wet feeding grounds along the river Mara.But the government announced in 2005 that it would build a road through this park.
Many organisations have spoken against the planned construction – which is scheduled to start in 2012. Members of the UNESCO, World Conservation Society, and Zoological Society of London strongly appeal to the Tanzanian government to reconsider. Many believe that leading the road through the south of the park, rather than north will not only be cheaper to build but would also be of use to more people and the migration would not be threatened.
Poaching scandals and rumours of illegal ivory trading has also put dents in the reputation of a struggling country. It is true that not all of the ivory poaching takes place in Tanzania, yet much of it passes through airports in Tanzania. The situation is getting worse as people are now not talking in terms of certain beasts only to be found in Tanzania, yet continually refer to them being exploited and poached.