Tanzania has recorded a 90 percent reduction in poaching as a result of its four-year multi-pronged anti-poaching campaign. Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Damas Ndumbaro made the revelation in Dar es Salaam yesterday while speaking to journalists on the plans to revive the tourism sector in the country.

"Recent efforts have helped us reduce poaching by 90 percent from 100 percent, and as a result, animal populations have risen exponentially," he said, noting that elephant populations had climbed from 43,000 in 2014 to 60,000 in 2019. He noted the government has taken tangible steps to prevent poaching through various initiatives, including conservation training and the development of wildlife conservation and forest paramilitary unit, citing the operations of a special task force established in 2016 to combat wildlife poaching.

Tanzania is also creating a zero-poaching strategy, according to the Minister. In 2016, the country launched an anti-poaching campaign. Dr. Ndumbaro attributed the success to National Anti-Poaching Task Force (NTAP), provision of adequate education for citizens to understand the importance of conservation and collaboration from surrounding communities.

Mr. Sylvester Mushi, Deputy Commissioner - Conservation at the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA), said that in collaboration with other wildlife agencies, they conducted anti-poaching patrols at ecosystems across the country and formed a Rapid Response Team that operates across all ecosystems. "These efforts have resulted in the disbandment of the country's suspected prominent poachers' syndicate. TAWA encourages community members and well-wishers to provide information that will lead to the arrest of poachers and illegal wildlife traffickers," he stated.

Meanwhile, ahead of the first East African Community (EAC) Regional Tourism EXPO, which will be held in Arusha from the 9th to the 11th of October this year, Dr. Ndumbaro has announced that all national parks in the country will be free of park and entrance fees during the week to encourage domestic tourism. "Promotion of Resilient Tourism for Inclusive Socio-economic Development" is the theme of the EXPO. Following the devastating impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the tourism sector, the theme is driven by the necessity to expand the sector in a sustainable manner. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the travel and tourist industry more than any other economic sector in the world.

"The expo is expected to go a long way in reviving the EAC tourism following the unprecedented decline caused by COVID-19. It will bolster intra-regional tourism in addition to international tourism through the promotion of the tourism product offerings for the EAC Citizens," he said. He explained that they are developing a variety of tourism products to help the sector recover from the effects of COVID-19, such as the recently announced golf tourism in Arusha.

"Tanzania has a variety of attractions, including beaches, mountains, and protected areas. Along with the Sao Hill Forest Plantation (SHFP), we aim to introduce bicycle, horse, and marathon tourism," said Dr. Ndumbaro. Tanzania also intends to implement motor rally tourism targeted at reviving the tourism and wildlife industries and bringing them to the next level for long-term growth, according to him.