The introduction of cultural tourism for communities living around southern Tanzania’s Mikumi National Park has reduced poaching incidents in the sanctuary.
Last month, Godfrey Mwakapeje, tourism and marketing manager, Mikumi National Park, said poaching incidents have reduced from 80 percent to 30 percent.
“This has been contributed by the fact that people living around the park have realized the potentials embedded in cultural tourism,” he said.
Mwakapeje said villagers close to the park have embarked into cultural tourism — a venture that has employed a good number of youth, which in turn improves their incomes.
“So, this has reduced pressure on wildlife resources and they are now working as the guards of the park,” Mwakapeje said. “They are now benefiting from conservation in different ways.”
He said the introduction of cultural tourism has raised the number of wild animals, such as elephants, buffalos, giraffes, lions and antelopes, in the 4th largest national park in Tanzania.
The Mikumi National Park is located 250 km from the country’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.
Mwakapeje said potential poachers have abandoned their weapons and are now busy with cultural tourism that showcase their culture to visitors.
“We introduced cultural tourism as part of diversifying tourism products so that we lure more tourists to visit the southern tourism corridor, which is less visited compared to the northern corridor.”
The national parks located in southern circuits include Mikumi, Udzungwa, Ruaha and Kitulo.
Makame Ngoroma, coordinator of southern national parks, said a special cultural tourism village will soon be established to feature all cultural aspects in southern Tanzania.