THE late President Dr John Magufuli will be remembered by many for his efforts to promote domestic tourism. This was proved when he upgraded Burigi-Chato, Rumanyika Karagwe and Ibanda Kyerwa to National Parks.

Dr Magufuli launched Burigi Chato National Park on July 11, last year, calling upon the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to make more efforts to publicise the abundant tourism opportunities to attract more tourists. The National Park, close to Lake Victoria, on the border with Rwanda, is surrounded by Kagera River and Lake Burigi.

The government established the National Park as a Game Reserve in the 1970s and it was in May 2018, with four other Game Reserves, promoted to National Parks.

The Game Reserves with a total of 5,526 square kilometers, which were upgraded to National Parks, with respective kilometers in brackets are: Biharamulo (1,300); Burigi (2,200); Kimisi (1,026); Rumanyika (800) and Ibanda (200). Various types of wildlife are found in the National Parks…they include elephants, lions, giraffes, buffaloes, leopards, hippopotamus and antelopes, to mention but a few.

The only specie not found in the game reserves to-date is the rhinocerous. There are also certain species of birds and butterflies found in these game reserves which cannot be found elsewhere in the world. Other tourist attractions found in the region include traditional houses of Chief Rumanyika of Karagwe at Bweranyange, Chief Kasusura of Biharamulo and Chief Balamba of Ngara.

The region enjoys a favourable weather pattern with average temperature at 26.02 degree Centigrade and annual rainfall ranging between 880-1,100 mm during months of September to January and March to May. While natural resources of different types are abundant in challenge for years but things are fast changing now, thanks to the strong and visionary leadership of the fallen iconic President Magufuli.

The late Magufuli was always determined to see Tanzania exploit and fully benefit from its endowed natural resources and his efforts are paying off as more domestic and foreign tourists are now touring the Burigi-Chato National Park.

“The major focus is to ensure that we fully exploit all the tourism potentials that Tanzania has,” Magufuli once said. Such potentials will include beach tourism, cultural tourism, resort and conference tourism. Investment opportunities in the tourist attraction include photographic tourism, canoeing, sport fishing, walking safaris and camping.

Tourism industry has become the second largest foreign exchange earner in the country after minerals. During his first five-year term in office, the Magufuli led government was always keen to ensure that investors conduct their business in a conducive and attractive environment.

Private sector has always been encouraged to exploit opportunities offered through the East African Community (EAC) common markets. Cultural tourism is among potential areas earmarked to attract more tourists in Kagera region, a renowned conservationist, Ms Mary Kalikawe said, while also thanking the late President for his effort to promote the sector.

The region had abundant untapped tourism opportunities urging leaders to take concerted efforts to publicise the tourism potentials including Lake Victoria, the world leading fresh water lake in the world. Tanzania’s tourism is booming. Increased air access, with many carriers now flying direct to Tanzania, new luxury hotels on the Mainland and Zanzibar, improved infrastructure and tarmac roads on safari circuits are also major factors contributing to Tanzania tourism’s success story.

These improvements together with the diversification of the tourism product adds to the existing allure of Tanzania’s unsurpassed wildlife, seven World Heritage Sites, the cultural richness and friendliness of people, miles of beautiful Indian Ocean coastline and the exotic spice Islands of Zanzibar.