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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Tanzania plans to construct 15 airstrips
to serve southern tourism circuit

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- A Tanzanian senior official said on Wednesday the government planned to construct 15 airstrips in the southern circuit of the east African country to boost tourism.

Hamisi Kiganwalla, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, said the construction of the airstrips will go in tandem with the diversification of tourist attraction centers.

“The southern tourist circuit is overwhelmed with too many attractions. It needs to be improved to attract more tourists from across the world,” Kigwangalla told the National assembly in the capital Dodoma.

The minister said the government’s focus for now was to develop the southern tourism circuit and look for other tourism products across the country.

He said airstrips to be built at four national parks in the southern tourism circuit will facilitate smooth transport services to local and foreign tourists.

Kigwangalla said the airstrips will be built at the Selous Game Reserve, the Ruaha National Park, the Mikumi National Park and the Udzungwa Mountains National Park.

Kigwangalla, responding to a number of issues raised by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Lands, Natural Resources and Tourism, said improvement of the southern circuit will also involve construction of a road from Iringa town to the entrance of the Ruaha National Park.

He told the House that tourism was among the number one sectors with huge contributions to the country’s foreign currency earnings, adding that in the 2016/2017 financial year tourism contributed 2.1 billion U.S. dollars.

He said the tourism sector contributed 17.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 12 percent of employment.

Kemilembe Lwota, the vice-chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Lands, Natural Resources and Tourism, faulted the government over poor marketing strategies to advertise the country’s tourist attractions within and outside the country.

Lwota said it was high time the government put in place strategies to identify, improve and market tourist attractions to be able to get intended revenues.

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EARLIER REPORT:

Tanzania destroys marijuana farms in heightened anti-drug campaign

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian authorities on Wednesday announced to have destroyed six hectares of marijuana planted inside a forest in northern part of the East African nation.

Mwigulu Nchemba, Tanzania’s Minister for Home Affairs who lead the operation, said the destroyed farms were found in Engalaoni village, one of the villages located on the foothills of Mount Meru, the second tallest peak in Tanzania after Mount Kilimanjaro.

Nchemba said in an interview that owners of the destroyed marijuana farms managed to escape, and the manhunt is ongoing.

He said the operation is part of the countrywide anti-narcotics campaign aimed at making Tanzania free from illicit drugs.

The minister said the government will continue with the operation across the country, warning people behind the farming, trading and transporting marijuana to look for another job.

He also tasked local governments to offer support in the fight against marijuana.

Charles Mkumbo, Arusha Regional Police Commander, also said that all the six hectares of marijuana planted in the area were burnt down.

He also noted that the fight against cannabis farming will continue across the region, saying that in recent years perpetrators have changed tactics to move away from police hands by farming the illegal crops in areas that can not be easily reached.

According to him, marijuana is widely grown on the slopes of Mount Meru, protected by poor terrain and resistance from local residents in Arusha region.

           

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