(January 30, 2008 – New York, NY) … USA Today, the national newspaper with a circulation of over 3,000,000, released its prestigious list of the Hottest Travel Trends for 2008 on January 11, 2008. Tanzania's famed Mt. Kilimanjaro sweeps the newspaper's "Exotic Adventures" category. This highly competitive list was compiled with extensive input from travel experts.
"I'm hearing more people say 'I want to climb (Tanzania's) Mt. Kilimanjaro now, while it still has glaciers,'" Marian Marbury, owner of the woman-only" Adventures in Good Company" is quoted as explaining one reason why the mythic mountain is considered a particularly desirable Exotic Adventure this year.
"There's a sense that many places and wildlife we've taken for granted are disappearing," she continues. "And the changes are happening now, within our lifetime."
Happily, though, at the moment Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain on the African Continent at 19,336 feet, remains ice-capped, snow-spread and majestic in glacial splendor. When that may change is a matter of scientific dissension. The New York Times of Sunday, January 20 featured a first person account of a climb up the majestic mountain's summit titled, "On Africa's Roof, Still Crowned With Snow." Writer Neil Modie quotes experts who say that the mountain's glaciers are disappearing due to climate change, but also describes his own observation and experience of snow, ice, and diverse "spectacular" ecological zones throughout the mountain.
Steeped in legend, capturing the compelling beauty of Tanzania, Mt. Kilimanjaro holds a special place as one of Tanzania's famed tourist sites. For many tourists to the East African country, a climb up Kilimanjaro is the highlight of their lives. These climbers contribute to the booming tourism economy.
According to Gerald Bigurube, Director General of the Tanzania National Parks, "at the moment, between 30-35,000 people climb Mt. Kilimanjaro annually." The trek may be rigorous or accessible, depending on which of six different paths are selected. "The best time of year for the climb," notes Mr. Bigurube "is January through February and mid-June through mid-October." Climbers may choose a variety of different camping arrangements on their way to the top of the mountain, ranging from simple to elaborate, the latter providing guides, porters and overnight camping sites with dining facilities.
These climbers contribute to the booming tourism economy in Tanzania. According to Hon. Prof. Jumanne Maghembe, Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, it is expected that "the tourism sector, which currently contributes 17.2% to the economy of the United Republic of Tanzania, will reach even higher levels quickly." The Minister notes that the country's main markets are Britain, the U.S., Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Scandinavia. The U.S. market is extremely strong, and is predicted to outreach the others in the next few years.
Managing Director of the Tanzania Tourist Board, Peter Mwenguo, adds, "about $ 1 billion USD is expected from tourism activities this year, an increase of $862 million last year."
Tanzania, the largest country in East Africa, is focused on wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism, with approximately 25 % of the land protected by the Government. It boasts 14 National Parks and 34 game reserves. It is the home of the tallest mountain in Africa, the legendary Mt. Kilimanjaro; The Serengeti, named in October, 2006, the New 7th Wonder of the World by USA Today and Good Morning America; the world acclaimed Ngorongoro Crater, often called the 8th Wonder of the World; Olduvai Gorge, the cradle of mankind: the Selous, the world's largest game reserve; Ruaha, now the largest National Park in East Africa; the spice islands of Zanzibar; and seven world Heritage Sites. Most important for tourism, the Tanzanian people are warm and friendly, speak English, although Kiswahili is the national language, and the country is an oasis of peace and stability with a democratic and stable government.
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