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Uganda and Tanzania Saw Biggest Growth in African Tourism in 2011

Mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda. Photo © Matt Kareus.

According to an article published last week in Uganda’s New Vision, Tanzania’s tourism sector saw the second highest growth rate in Africa in 2011.  According to remarks made by Kenya’s Secretary of Tourism at the Magical Kenya Travel Expo 2012, Uganda’s tourism sector grew by 25% last year, followed by Tanzania at 21% and South Africa at 13.4%.

Even before the impressive growth in Tanzania’s tourism sector in 2011, tourism was already a critical component of the country’s overall economic vitality. In 2010, tourism accounted for 8% (US$1.759 billion) of Tanzania’s  Gross Domestic Product and  1 in every 15.8 jobs, or 624,000 jobs in total.

In 2010 Serengeti Watch conducted an Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed commercial highway through Serengeti National Park, based in part on a survey of international travel providers. The report concluded that if the highway is constructed it will have disastrous consequences for Tanzania’s tourism industry, potentially depriving the country of $545 million in revenue and 193,000 jobs within eight years.