The Tanzanian tourism sector has been recently awarded with a USD 100 million loan from the International Development Association (IDA) from the World Bank (WB) group, for the implementation of the Tanzania Resilient Natural Resources Management for Growth Project that aims at strengthening the country’s tourism products and value chain.
The project is focused on four priority areas of the Ruaha National Park, Udzungwa Mountain National Park, Mikumi National Park, Selous game reserve and includes communities around them than could benefit from tourism economic activities.
The project is also part of WB’s plan to help Tanzania to reach the 8 million visitors a year by 2025 up from above 1 million in 2014 that is focused on diversification of geographic locations and tourism segments, integration of tourism activities at existing attractions and improvement in the quality of governance in the tourism sector.
The announcement was done by Tanzania’s Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Ramo Makani, whom in a recent meeting with lawmakers explained that the project implementation would start next year when improvements in tourism infrastructure as roads, airports and accommodations will be undertaken.
The project will also enable the government to work on the development of a new tourism circuit in the southern region and upgrade of the Tunduma-Sumbawanga-Mpanda road to allow visitors to visit more than one site connection the country’s southern and western regions, explain Mr. Makani.
According to the WB, USD 2.5 million has been already released to facilitate the project’s preparation and finance consulting services that will provide concrete recommendations on how to strengthen tourism products in the four key areas.
Currently, the WB manages a portfolio of USD 3.95 billion spread in 25 operations most of which has been allocated to the transport sector.
The tourism sector is a key sector of the Tanzanian economy, contributing 17% to the country’s GDP and accounting for 25% of all the foreign exchange earnings, with USD 2 billion in revenues in 2014.