THIS paper carried a lead story yesterday about progress in the plan to bring all wildlife conservation bodies under one roof.
It is certainly good news to tourism operators and the nation in general as the government is striving to reform the sector, which is one of two leading foreign exchange earners and a key provider of trade and job opportunities.
A committee of six people under the Rector of the College of African Wildlife Management, Mweka, Prof Jafari Kidegesho is currently working on how best to merge the institutions into a single entity in order to cut operational costs and enhance efficiency.
It is discussing with the stakeholders to find out the best way to execute the plan adopted following outpouring of negative sentiments from the industry that the multitude of bodies were harming the industries and therefore counterproductive to efforts to promote the sector.
With Tanzania National Park (TANAPA), Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) and Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI)-all involved in wildlife conservation, there has been an outcry from tourism stakeholders that these bodies were doing more harm than good, because they constrain the sector through imposition of multiple taxes and levies that discourage investors, particularly small investors.
TANAPA is supposedly to be merged with TAWA, the Tanzania Wildlife Authority and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority to streamline operations and more directly control their activities and bring all anti-poaching operations under one roof.
The tourism sector plays a significant role in the Tanzanian economy. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) the direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to the economy was 2.975bn/-or 5.1 percent of total GDP in 2014.
It is certain that as we move towards middle-income status, tourism can be leveraged to promote faster economic growth, add additional productive jobs, and provide more fiscal revenues and foreign exchange earnings.
It is on this vein that we hail the government for initiating the move and hope and pray it becomes successful.