Last weekend, the tourism stakeholders met in Mwanza, Tanzanias lakeside port town on Lake Victoria, to discuss the way forward of how to better promote travel into this part of the country and have a greater share of tourism receipts.
Members of the Tourism Development Initiative and other groups came together to map out how best this will be possible and amongst the key issues mentioned to this correspondent was the upgrading of Mwanza airport. Said the source in an email received yesterday: We heard that Kisumu is now a big international airport with more flights and more visitors. We in Mwanza would also like to see such efforts by our government. The plans to build another international airport near the Serengeti are rubbish really. We have Mwanza already in place and with some upgrading it can go a long way to serve our part of Tanzania. From here it is two hours’ drive to the Serengeti, or with the smaller aircraft even less than half an hour to some of the park airfields. From Arusha it is a long way by road and takes a longer time to fly into the park. But from Mwanza it is so much easier and as an extra attraction we have Lake Victoria right here. Most tourists to Tanzania never see the biggest lake in Africa. We are losing visitors and revenues and TTB and others must now shape up and promote us as much as they promote the parks. Lake Victoria gets very little promotion from the tourist board and yet there is fishing, bird watching, sunset cruises, island visits. We should also try to have more airlines from Uganda and Kenya come here with extra flights to bring passengers. Let’s work together to achieve better results here for us.
Another periodic source from Arusha added: Government could do a lot for us here. Instead of talking about a new railway to Musoma they should fix up and modernize the rail link from Arusha to Mwanza. That way tourists could even use the train which right now is too slow. That would be a better option and much cheaper too. And at the same breath I add our opposition to the highway plans through Serengeti. They should build the road around the south part of Serengeti as a good highway and then link Mwanza too. That way the road used now through Ngorongoro and Serengeti can be relieved of heavy traffic. This government should stop making so much noise about things which are not happening anyway and concentrate to develop and modernize what we already have and what they have let go into disrepair for too long. And they should also stop listening to pressure from KADCO (Kilimanjaro Airport Development Company) and allow more flights from Arusha airport which is easier for people to reach than driving so far out almost to Moshi. Sentiments often heard yes seemingly so far fallen on rather deaf ears.
Precision Air is operating several flights a day between Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro International and Mwanza and a source close to the airline made it known that they would support any initiative to promote greater travel to the Lake Victoria town should the tourist board roll out a campaign.