The International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) announced that Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) has joined the alliance as a destination member.
Tanzania National Parks works to sustainably conserve and manage park resources and their aesthetic value, for the benefit of present and future generations of mankind, as well as to efficiently provide high-class tourism products and services. Its ultimate aim is to be the highest globally-rated institution in sustainable conservation and provision of exceptional tourism services.
The primary role of TANAPA is conservation. The 15 national parks, many of which form the core of a much larger protected ecosystem, have been set aside to preserve the country’s rich natural heritage, and to provide secure breeding grounds where its fauna and flora can thrive, safe from the conflicting interests of a growing human population.
The existing park system protects a number of internationally-recognized bastions of biodiversity and World Heritage sites, thereby redressing the balance for those areas of the country affected by deforestation, agriculture, and urbanization. The gazetting of Saadani and Kitulo National Parks in 2002 expanded this network to include coastal and montane habitats formerly accorded a lower level of protection.
TANAPA is also currently acquiring further land to expand certain parks, and to raise the status of traditional migration corridors connecting protected areas. In spite of population pressures, Tanzania has dedicated more than 46,348.9 square kilometers to national parks. Including other reserves, conservation areas and marine parks, Tanzania has accorded some form of formal protection to more than one-third of its territory – a far higher proportion than most of the world’s wealthier nations.
Tourism provides valuable revenue used to support the conservation work of the national parks, as well as wildlife research, and the education and livelihood of local communities. In addition, tourism helps to generate international awareness of conservation issues, while the physical presence of tourists can help deter illegal poaching activity, assisting the park rangers with their game management work.
ICTP President Professor Geoffrey Lipman said: “The engagement of TANAPA is another important milestone. Tanzania has a proud reputation for conservation and heritage. The Serengeti is the home of one of the greatest animal migrations on the planet, and Mount Kilimanjaro - Africa’s highest mountain - is a global icon for adventure travel. Members like this add immensely to the collective knowledge and resource base of ICTP - we welcome TANAPA’s commitment to work with us to promote quality green growth.”
The Chairman of ICTP, Juergen T. Steinmetz, said: “We firmly believe in the work TANAPA is doing and the fact that this organization has resisted the temptation to cash in on the short-term gains of mass tourism. Instead, it is committed to low impact, sustainable visitation to protect the environment from irreversible damage while creating a first-class ecotourism destination. This fits in perfectly with the mission of ICTP to promote quality green tourism growth.”