Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) has embarked on a new venture aimed at promoting eco-tourism to woo more tourists.
NCAA’s chief conservator Freddy Manongi said that the new drive is meant to lure more tourists visiting the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s recognized tourist site, located 180 km from Tanzania’s northern safari capital of Arusha.
“Our interest is to diversify tourism products from wildlife to ecotourism, a tourism product which we believe will encourage more visitors,” the official said.
“This time around we want to encourage tourists from Far East and Asian countries,” Manongi said. “We’ve learnt there is a big market in China and Arabic countries.
Tourists from that area are interested in seeing rocks, antiquities and landscapes rather than wild animals, that’s we’re eyeing for the Asian market,” the official said.
Ngorongoro has paleontological and archaeological sites of Olduvai Gorge, Laetoli site, Lake Ndutu site and the Nasera Rock Shelter.
According to Manongi, NCAA has already identified ecotourism products such as mountains, antiquities as well as geological sites, which are found in the sanctuary, which was established 58 years ago, as a multiple land-use area, designated to promote the conservation of natural resources, safeguard the interests of NCA indigenous residents and promote tourism.
“We’re currently improving roads getting into those tourist sites.”
He encouraged tour operators in the sanctuary to open up the new chapter and add the issue of eco-tourism in their menus.
The variety and richness of the fossil remain, including those of early hominids, has made it one of the major areas in the world for research on the human evolution.
The area is now attracting more than 700,000 tourists annually and generating an average 32 million U.S dollars in revenue.
Ngorongoro is a home to some 25,000 large animals, mostly ungulates, alongside the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa, including the densest population of lion.
It also harbors a range of endangered species, such as the black rhino, wild hunting dog and golden cat and 500 species of birds.