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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Tanzanian tour guides oppose Mount Kilimanjaro
cable car project in fear of losing employment

By Lucas Liganga ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian tourism stakeholders on Sunday come out in opposition of the unveiled plan to build cable cars on Mount Kilimanjaro, saying the project will cut jobs and eliminate the fun of hiking for days to the roof of Africa.

Key industry players namely tour operators, guides and porters strongly protest the proposed facility, saying climbing Kilimanjaro Mountain on foot is a lifetime experience that should never be compromised by cable cars.

The protest came few weeks when Constantine Kanyasu, Tanzania’s Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism said that the Cable Car project is part of the government’s latest strategy to woo tourists with over 50 years of age.

Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society (MKPS) opposes the cable car product outright, saying it will deny employment to nearly 250,000 mountain porters scaling up Mount Kilimanjaro for a wage each year.

"Much as the cable car service doesn’t require porters, majority of tourists will climb Mount Kilimanjaro on day trip basis using the new product to cut down costs and length of stay," said Edson Mpemba, MKPS Vice Chairman.

Mpemba wondered that decision makers had overlooked interests of the huge number of the unskilled labour force, which solely depends on the mountain to eke out a living.

"Think of the ripple effect on families of the 250,000 unskilled porters," he stresses, cautioning:

"The cable car facility will initially look like a noble and innovative idea, but it will, in the long run, ruin the future of the majority of local people whose livelihood depends on the mountain."

Juma Salewa, a seasoned mountain tour guide also said that the glittering cable car product will contradict the country’s conservation policy, as it will encourage mass tourism and become a major threat to the ecology of Mount Kilimanjaro.

He also said that tour operators are also worried over the cable car harshly affecting revenues in the long run, owing to the service significantly reducing the length of stay from eight to one day.

"Assume all 50,000 tourists hiking Mount Kilimanjaro a year opt for the cable car, the national park will get 4.1 million U.S. dollars as a fee, down from the current 55.3 million U.S. dollars," he said.

Betty Looibok, Chief Park Warden with Kilimanjaro National Park (Kinapa) said the cable car is but only one of several additional tourism products embedded into Mount Kilimanjaro’s General Management Plan (GMP) in an effort to boost revenue.

"Cable car is for physically challenged persons and aged tourists who want to experience the thrill of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro up to Shira Plateau without wishing to reach the summit," she explained.

She further explained that the construction of the cable car will depend on the outcome of the environmental and social impact assessment study, which is currently underway.

According to her, plans for the cable car service on the Kilimanjaro Mountain are not entirely new; as the discussions date back to 1960s when the issue was raised but never materialized.

The feasibility plan in place will, however, bring the cable car one step closer to reality and make the mountain more accessible to special-needs groups than it has been so far.

Some of the 50,000 tourists conquering Mount Kilimanjaro peaks a year use one of the six separate walking routes to the roof.
.

EARLIER REPORTS:

Tanzanian PM requests 1,000 Israeli tourists to be good ambassadors

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa on Saturday requested 1,000 Israeli tourists who visited the east African nation to be good ambassadors of the country when they got back home.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam said Majaliwa made the appeal when he bade farewell to 274 Israeli tourists at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) at the end of their week-long visit to the country.

The 274 tourists were among 1,000 Israeli tourists who visited Tanzania’s various tourist attractions from April 20. The first batch of the tourists left on Friday night and the rest of them were expected to leave later on Saturday.

"We have been excited by your visit and we request you to promote abroad the tourist attractions that you have seen in the country," said the premier.

Israeli tourists Naomi Peer Moscovich and his daughters Dana and Lihi said they were impressed to see many animals roaming in the natural habitat.

"We will never forget Tanzania. Our visit to this country will be unforgettable," said Dana Peer Moscovich.

Tourism is the largest foreign exchange earner of Tanzania, contributing an average of 2 billion U.S. dollars annually, which is equivalent to 25 percent of all exchange earnings, according to the government data.

It also contributes to more than 17 percent of the national gross domestic product and creating more than 1.5 million jobs, 500,000 of which are direct.

A report released in June 2017 rated Tanzania’s tourism industry as one of the fastest growing sectors in the country with figures showing a surge on tourist arrivals.

The 2016 International Visitors’ Exit Survey Report indicated that the number of tourists who visited the country continued to rise.

The report was jointly compiled by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the Bank of Tanzania, the National Bureau of Statistics, the Immigration Department and the Zanzibar Commission for Tourism.

The report showed that Tanzania hosted at least 1.2 million tourists in 2016, compared to 1.1 million in 2015, which was an increase of 12 percent.

The report showed revenues from the tourism industry have been increasing year after year with 2.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 against 1.9 billion dollars in 2015.
.

Tanzanian president orders opening of regional gold trading centers

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Saturday ordered regional commissioners in regions producing gold to open trading centers of the precious stones in seven days.

Addressing a public rally in Chunya district in Mbeya region on his second day of his eight-day tour of the southern highlands region, the president wondered why that order he made early this year was not being observed by the regional commissioners.

"I want to see gold trading centers in gold producing regions to be in operation within seven days from today," said Magufuli in an address televised live by state-owned national broadcaster-Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation.

He particularly ordered Mbeya regional commissioner Albert Chalamila to heed his order as soon as possible after he had learnt that Chunya district which was producing gold has no trading center.

"The gold trading centers help in curbing smuggling of gold out of the country," said the president, praising Geita region in northwest of the country which opened a gold trading center in March this year.

Launching the gold trading center in Geita region, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa directed all regional commissioners to establish mineral trading centers in their regions to boost the sector’s contribution to individual incomes and the national economy.

The gold trading centers accommodated buyers, miners, government offices, banks and dealers at a one-stop center.

Geita is one of the major gold producing regions, and accounts for more than half of all gold produced in Tanzania.

He directed the Ministry of Minerals, local government authorities and the Minerals Commission to make sure that the centers are established since it was the main challenge facing small-scale miners.
.

Tanzania standards watchdog seizes four tonnes of imported used underwear

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania’s standards watchdog has seized four tonnes of used underwear in an ongoing crackdown in the east African nation’s northern zone regions, an official said on Sunday.

"Most of the imported used underwear were impounded in Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions during a special crackdown that lasted two weeks," said Rhoida Andusamile, head of public relations for state-owned Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS).

The government has banned the importation of used underwear and other substandard goods to protect citizens against diseases and other risks but traders were still importing them through illegal entry points, she said.

Andusamile told Xinhua when reached by phone that TBS was getting in touch with relevant environment authorities to establish how best to dispose of the consignment.

"We are definitely going to burn them but we have to consult environment authorities to guide us on how to burn the used underwear without polluting the environment," she said.

The official said the seized used underwear included socks, towels and underskirts, adding that the crackdown will be carried out across the country.

"Most of the used underwear were seized from markets and shops in northern zone regions of Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Tanga," said the official.

Andusamile said TBS was currently conducting an inspection to identify substandard goods all over the country, a move aimed at protecting Tanzanians from health hazards associated with the use of second-hand products.
.

Tanzanian bishop warns against reckless drinking among youth

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The Archbishop of Dar es Salaam Polycarp Cardinal Pengo on Sunday raised concern over excessive consumption of alcohol in the country among the youth in Tanzania.

Cardinal Pengo made the remarks when speaking during the special mass to install the newly appointed archbishop for Mbeya archdiocese, Gervas Nyaisonga.

The installation event was graced by Tanzanian President John Magufuli along with his wife Janeth Magufuli.

The Archbishop called on the Tanzanian government to take measures to tackle the habit if the country is to reach its various development targets.

He denounced the behavior, saying that there are some parts of the country where people especially the youth have been trapped in harmful use of alcohol.

The binge drinking by members of the most productive group—the youth—take place during early morning hours when the drinkers are supposed to be working, he said.

Tanzania aspires to become a middle-income economy by the year 2025 which requires a disciplined, innovative workforce with good work ethic especially among the youthful population.

Cardinal Pengo said: "The government has powers and can manage to put things better to enable people to work hard and forget about drinking in work hours (morning) ...

"We as religious leaders can do something but cannot achieve this alone without having burly support from the government."

           

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