Tanzania: Heritage Sites and Tourism

Heritage sites roll Dar’s tourism

Out of the Tanzania’s 16 national parks, one conservation area and over 20 game reserves, it is only the Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar Isles that have been attracting the most number of foreign visitors and all these destinations have World Heritage Site status. The Conservator for Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority said this status remains the driving factor in Tanzania’s tourism industry which so far is the leading economic bedrock for the country, employing more than 800,000 people directly and millions others indirectly.

“When you market the Tanzanian tourist attractions abroad, potential visitors usually ask, is this a ‘world heritage site?’ which goes to show that UNESCO acclaimed properties are the best selling points to sell the country’s destinations”

Tourism has on the other hand overtaken gold as Tanzania’s leading foreign exchange earner, currently commanding an annual average of US $ 2.5 billion. Meanwhile, recent earnings from the country’s gold exports were reported to have been in the neighbourhood of US $ 1.6 billion.

Tanzania is said to attract at least 1.2 million foreign visitors every year, and these usually flock into the country for mostly leisure tourism dominated by wildlife safaris, beach sun-basking and cultural heritage sampling.

Distributing that figure, it is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area with its legendary crater which gets the lion’s share of tourists with an average of 500,000 annual visitors, Serengeti getting 350,000 with the remaining 300,000 either getting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or sampling Zanzibar’s Stone Town and beaches.

As it happens, all those four attractions have been exclusively branded as ‘World Heritage Sites,’ (WHS) by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Tanzania has seven properties that have been listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and these include the Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Selous Game Reserve, the Stone Town of Zanzibar, the Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara as well as the Kolo Rock Arts of Kondoa.

Source: Daily News