Tanzania targets wealthy US safari hunters to boost tourism
the Tanzanian Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism traveled to Las Vegas in the United States in late January to market Tanzania’s lucrative hunting safaris at the 50th Annual Hunting Convention held in late January. The department said the minister was in the United States to market Tanzania’s hunting blocks ahead of wealthy American hunting tourists and other trophy hunting investors around the world.
Dr Ndumbaro led a delegation of senior government officials and private hunting companies operating in Tanzania to attend the meeting organized by the World Hunting Association which brought together over 870 exhibitors to showcase the hunting activity of trophies in the parts and products of wild animals of several countries.
The minister said Tanzania would be able to market its hunting blocks and then attract international hunting companies while discovering new strategies that would make hunting safaris more profitable to generate more revenue for the Tanzanian government.
Tanzania has focused on attracting high-spending American tourists, mainly those who pay more US dollars to go on big game hunting safaris. A full 21-day hunting safari in Tanzania costs around US$60,000, excluding flights, weapons import permits and trophy fees.
Trophy fees for elephant and lion hunting are the most expensive. Hunters are required to pay $15,000 to kill an elephant and $12,000 to kill a lion under strict regulations from wildlife authorities. Wandering elephants and lions, including old and unproductive ones, are the only group of these animals that hunters are allowed to hunt for trophies.
The professional hunters booked in Tanzania are mostly Americans who are considered the biggest spenders booked for hunting safaris in Africa.
The United States lifted a ban on the import of wildlife trophies from Tanzania a few years ago to allow American hunters to travel to Tanzania for hunting safaris. Earlier in 2014, the US government imposed a ban on all wildlife products or trophies from Tanzania after serious poaching incidents reported by US media and wildlife activists.
During his visit to Tanzania in 2013, former US President Barrack Obama issued an executive order to combat wildlife poaching in Tanzania and other African countries at risk of poaching, then banned the export of trophies from Tanzania to the United States.
Big game hunting is currently a thriving business in Tanzania where large hunting companies attract wealthy tourists to go on expensive safari expeditions for big game hunting in game reserves. The Tanzanian government is currently allocating wildlife hunting blocks through auctions, with the aim of increasing transparency and then allowing competition in the hunting market to generate more income from tourist hunting. . Tourist hunting blocks are classified into three categories in which bidders pay different fees, depending on the category of the hunting block.
A new system (online auction) has the potential to incentivize foreign and local companies to own hunting blocks in a more transparent way that will allow the government to collect more revenue from wildlife hunting, a said the Department of Natural Resources. Under the new system, a hunting block will belong to the owner or hunting company for 10 consecutive years from the previous 5 years for first and second class blocks, while owners of third class hunting blocks class will own their blocks for 15 years instead of the previous 5 years.
The Tanzanian government has also waived various taxes imposed on foreign hunting companies to attract more hunting tourists to visit Tanzania. Eligible hunting companies can be awarded up to 5 hunting blocks each, which will be of different categories during the auction. Hunting blocks in Tanzania are confined to 38 game reserves, controlled game reserves and open areas.
Hunting in Tanzania is completely free in wild areas owned by the government and leased by hunting companies. The main leased hunting areas offer full bag safaris including lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes and regular game.
The hunting season in Tanzania this year will start from May 1 to December 31, while the best time to hunt is from July 1 to the end of October.
The Wildlife Act 2009 gave professional hunters the right to conduct wildlife hunting activities through a hunting permit and license under the Hunting Tourist Regulations. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is now helping Tanzania develop Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) as part of US support for the tourism sector.
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