Tanzania Tarangire National Park Set to Expand

Negotiations with several villages surrounding the Tanzania Tarangire National Park has resulted in at least three of the villages agreeing to re-demarcate the boundaries, relocate and give their land to the park in order to make it possible for  Tarangire to be enlarged.

Following the expansion process, the park will incorporate a major forest, which is expected to not only provide extra protection to the area, but also to act as a new feature that will attract future visitors to the park.

In general, the Tanzania tourism sector relies heavily on its wildlife, beaches and other natural attractions such as Mt. Kilimanjaro

According to a recently published report by Global Travel Industry News, the unique features of the park already help to attract visitors to the country who embark on a safari across the northern circuit.

“The park, while admittedly less popular with overseas visitors compared to Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, and the Serengeti, is nevertheless thought to be a must-see stop for all tourists embarking on their safari across the northern circuit due to its unique features,” read the report.

Currently, the Tarangire National Park is most widely known for the thousands of baobab trees that grow within its boundaries as well as for its general game population and large herds of elephant.

According to an announcement by government officials earlier this month, the arrival of tourists to Tanzania fell by 10.2 percent, from 641,951 in 2008 to 576,643 in 2009, for a period covering the first 10 months of each year.

Government officials went on to explain that this drop came as a result of the effects of the global economic crisis, with the most significant drop occurring in the first six months of the year, after which time the arrival rate began to improve.

Full-year figures for 2008 reported that the Tanzania tourism sector earned a total of USD 1.3 billion.

While awaiting the release of the 2009 full-year arrivals and earnings, which is scheduled to take place next month, some tour and safari operators have already requested that changes be made to the current system of paying for park entrance fees, which was introduced in 2007 by Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa) in the country’s northern circuit in an effort to respond to the fraudulent practices that had been reported at the various gates.

Based on the newly established Tanapa system, banks in the northern circuit that are participating in the scheme established both cash and card machines in order to accommodate cashless payments.

While the system was originally welcomed by tour and safari operators who were looking to avoid the loss of cash, issues soon began to surface concerning how the system works.

Global Travel Industry News reported that the majority of the complaints are currently concerned with the use of MasterCard.

“The complaints are apparently focused on the use of MasterCard payments,” read the report, “which operators claim often remain unpaid by the bank yet they (the operators) have provided services and made payments on behalf of their clients, who, by the time the dispute arises, have already returned home.”