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BOIS ET FORÊTS DES TROPIQUES, 2006, N° 290 (4) 73
ÉCOTOURISME ET AIRES PROTÉGÉES
TANZANIE
Paul F. J. Eagles
Derek Wade
Department of Recreation
and Leisure Studies
University of Waterloo
Waterloo
Ontario
Canada
N2L 3G1
Photo 1.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Photo P. F. J. Eagles.
A study of park visitors showed high satisfaction with the natural resources of the Serengeti National Park and with
private-sector tourism operations. However, the visitors revealed negative service quality gaps for most services and facilities
provided by the Tanzanian National Park Agency, TANAPA. While Tanzania seeks to cater for the higher end tourist, the study
showed the importance of the budget tourism market to both the park and the nation.
Tourism in Tanzania:
Serengeti National Park
RÉSUMÉ
TOURISME EN TANZANIE: LE PARC
NATIONAL DE SERENGETI
Le tourisme axé sur la nature est un
secteur de grande importance pour la
Tanzanie, et le parc national de
Serengeti y représente une attraction
de premier plan. Le tourisme s’est
considérablement accru en Tanzanie
depuis une trentaine d’années, mais
lepays perd actuellement des parts
de marché en faveur de l’Afrique du
Sud. Une enquête menée parmi les
visiteurs fait état de niveaux de satis-
faction élevés quant aux ressources
naturelles du parc et aux opérations
touristiques du secteur privé.
Cependant, l’enquête a révélé des
faiblesses sur le plan de la qualité
des services fournis par la Tanapa,
l’agence nationale des parcs de
Tanzanie. Les effectifs chargés de la
gestion du tourisme dans le parcsont
faibles également, de même que le
système d’information du public. La
Tanzanie s’efforce de développer le
tourisme de luxe et l’enquête a mon-
tré l’importance du budget touris-
tique, autant pour le parc que pour le
pays dans son ensemble. Cet article
propose des recommandations pour
améliorer lagestion du tourisme
dans le parc national de Serengeti.
Mots-clés : gestion du tourisme, parc
national de Serengeti, Tanzanie.
ABSTRACT
TOURISM IN TANZANIA: SERENGETI
NATIONAL PARK
Serengeti National Park is the key-
stone attraction in Tanzania’s impor-
tant nature-based tourism industry.
Tourism in Tanzania increased
steadily over the last three decades,
but the country has lost market share
to South Africa. A study of park visi-
tors showed high levels of satisfac-
tion with the natural resources of the
park and with private-sector tourism
operations. However, the visitors
revealed negative service quality
gaps for most services and facilities
provided by TANAPA, the Tanzanian
National Park Agency. The park also
had low levels of staffing in tourism
management, and a poor visitor infor-
mation system. While Tanzania seeks
to cater for the higher end tourist, the
study revealed the importance of the
budget tourism market to both the
park and the nation. This paper
makes recommendations for the
improvement of tourism manage-
ment in Serengeti National Park.
Keywords: tourism management,
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
RESUMEN
TURISMO EN TANZANIA: EL PARQUE
NACIONAL DE SERENGETI
El turismo basado en la naturaleza es
un sector de gran importancia para
Tanzania, y el Parque Nacional de
Serengeti constituye una atracción
de primer orden. El turismo se ha
incrementado considerablemente en
Tanzania en los últimos treinta años,
peroactualmente este país ve su
cuota de mercado disminuir en favor
de Sudáfrica. Una encuesta realizada
entre los visitantes refleja un alto
nivel de satisfacción en cuanto a los
recursos naturales del parque y a las
operaciones turísticas del sector pri-
vado. Sin embargo, la encuesta
revela una serie de puntos débiles
relativos a la calidad de los servicios
prestados por la TANAPA, la Agencia
Nacional de los Parques de Tanzania.
Asimismo, no se cuenta con bastante
personal para la gestión del turismo
en el parque y el sistema de informa-
ción al público. Tanzania intenta
desarrollar el turismo de lujo y la
encuesta puso de manifiesto la
importanciadel presupuesto turís-
tico, tanto en el parque como en el
conjunto del país. Este artículo pro-
pone recomendaciones para mejorar
la gestión del turismo en el Parque
Nacional de Serengeti.
Palabras clave: gestión del turismo,
Parque Nacional de Serengeti,
Tanzania.
74 BOIS ET FORÊTS DES TROPIQUES, 2006, N° 290 (4)
ECOTOURISM AND PROTECTED AREAS
Paul F.J. Eagles, Derek Wade
TANZANIA
Background
Tanzania’s national parks and
game reserves are well-known for
their biological diversity. In recent
decades, the growing nature tourism
sector, which is based on this biodi-
versity, has become the country’s
largest foreign currency earner. This
paper highlights the characteristics
of tourists and tourism in one signifi-
cant site, the world-famous Serengeti
National Park (photograph 1).
Tanzania is one of the world’s
poorest nations, relying primarily on
its agricultural sector (Cia,2005).
Tourism in Tanzania has great poten-
tial for economic growth. Over the
last decade, the country recorded an
average growth of 6% per annum in
tourist revenue. In 1997, tourism
contributed 15.8% to the GDP (US
$2,263 M), and 54% of the country’s
export earnings (US $717.7 M). It
also provided employment for
30 000 people (Melamari, 2001).
Tanzania seeks to offer a low-
density, high-quality and high-priced
tourism experience based on nature.
Challenges include the lack of infra-
structure, insufficient numbers of
trained staff, and weak legal and regu-
latoryframeworks (Wadeet al., 2001).
Plans exist to diversify tourism prod-
ucts with the aim of increasing the
length of stay and promoting the coun-
tryasadestination in its own right. The
National Tourism Policy for Tanzania
(Tanzania,1997) is seeking: “the
development of sustainable quality
tourism which is culturally and socially
responsible, ecologically friendly, envi-
ronmentally sustainable and economi-
cally viable, and to market Tanzania as
the destination for tourism in terms of
adventure, safari, wildlife, a variety of
cultures and beaches”.
Visits to the national parks in
Tanzania have increased consider-
ably from 132 879 visitor days in
1987 to318 419 in 2000 (figure 1).
Park tourism has grown faster than
national tourism, revealing the rela-
tive importance of the national parks
tothe tourism industry. However,
from 1980 to 2000, Tanzania lost
market share to South Africa in the
expanding African tourism market.
Serengeti National Park is the
largest park in the Tanzania national
park system, covering an area of 14
763 square kilometers (figure 2). It is a
World Heritage Site, and a Biosphere
Reserve. The Serengeti ecosystem is
perhaps best known for the continuous
migration of over 1.4 million wilde-
beest, 0.2 million zebra and 0.7 million
Thompson’s gazelles. The ecosystem
contains one of the highest concentra-
tions of carnivores in Africa. The park is
also home to the endangered blackrhi-
noceros and African wild dog (Tanapa,
1996; Kideghesho et al., 2005).
The Tanzanian National Park
Agency, TANAPA, a government-oper-
ated parastatal, manages Tanzania’s
national parks. All operational funds
for the national park system come
from tourism fees and charges. Foreign
aid grants provide most of the capital
funding. Tanzania’s national parks
have a differential system of entrance
fees: in 1996 non-residents paid US
$20 per person per day, while national
residents paid 1 500 Tshs, or approxi-
mately US $1.00. In the same period,
Serengeti National Park contributed
approximately 33% of all income
earned bythe national park system
(Melamari,1996). All park employees
and the vast majority of employees in
private-sector tourism companies are
Tanzanian nationals. Therefore, park
tourism is a major source of employ-
ment in the local and national econ-
omy. TANAPA is governed by a Board of
Directors appointed by the national
government.
In 1996, Serengeti National
Park had 105 000 visitor days, more
than any other park in the country
(Melamari,1996). Tourist facilities in
the Serengeti include four lodges and
four tent camps operated by private
tourism companies, and two camp-
sites operated by Tanapa (2001).
Access is usually through the Naabi
Hill Gate (photograph 2) on the road
from the Ngorongoro Conservation
Area to the east.
The park agency provides
resource management, public camp-
sites, roads and security. In 1997,
the park tourism department con-
sisted of only one tourist ranger. The
privatesector offersthe majority of
tourism services through tourist
lodges providing accommodation
and food, and safari companies pro-
viding transport, guides and special
campsites. These private-sector com-
panies pay a fee to TANAPA.
The strong tourism industry is
the main reason why the national
park has continued to exist and flour-
ish. Income from tourism is an incen-
tive for the national government to
invest heavily in park management.
Photo 2.
Naabi Hill Gate. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Photo P. F. J. Eagles.
BOIS ET FORÊTS DES TROPIQUES, 2006, N° 290 (4) 75
ÉCOTOURISME ET AIRES PROTÉGÉES
TANZANIE
Serengeti
National Park
visitor study –
background
Approximately 1 000 tourists
entered Serengeti National Park over
a six-day sampling period during the
low visitor season of October 1997. A
total of 228 tourists completed a
complex survey on the last night of
their stay, with a 98% response rate.
Almosthalf of the visitors were
from the UK and the USA. Much
smaller numbers were from The
Netherlands, France, Australia, and
Germany. Tanzanian citizens
accounted for just 0.9% of this sam-
ple. All groups of Serengeti tourists
are highly educated. The gender mix
among visitors is approximately
equal.
The average length of visitor
safaris is 17 days (table I). These visi-
tors spend 40% of their time (7 days)
inside national parks and 60% out-
side. In the lowseason, visitors stay
in Serengeti national parkfor only 2.3
days on average. This is a short stay
considering the global significance of
the park and the long journey needed
to get there.
Repeat visitors to Serengeti NP
represent only 6.3% of the sample.
Half of the repeat visitor respondents
were tour leaders, and one quarter
were residents. The repeatvisit rate is
therefore very low.
Wildlife-related activities were
mentioned by 75.2% of respon-
dents as being the most enjoyable
aspect of their park visit. Wilderness
and scenerywas cited by 15% of
respondents.
Figure 1.
National park visitor use in Tanzania.
Figure 2.
Serengeti National Park. Source: @ 2004 Serengeti National Park.
76 BOIS ET FORÊTS DES TROPIQUES, 2006, N° 290 (4)
TANZANIA
ECOTOURISM AND PROTECTED AREAS
User segments
Four clearly identifiable user seg-
ments, each with specific characteris-
tics, were found at the park. Lodge
safari visitors made up the largest
group, with 59% of respondents.
Lodge safari visitors travel through the
park by private safari vehicles and
stay in one of the private-sector lodges
in the park. Camping safari visitors
(18% of respondents) travel through
the park with safari vehicles and stay
in one of the campsites operated by
TANAPA. Overland safari visitors (19%
of respondents) travel in large groups
in large trucks and stay in public
campsites. They typically travel
through several countries in eastern
and southern Africa. Special campers
(4% of respondents) travel in small
groups and stay in exclusive, pri-
vately-operated campsites.
Overland and camping safari
visitors are single, younger, childless,
and just establishing their careers.
Special campers and lodge safari
users are married with older children
and in mid-career.
There are significant differences
among the user segments with regard
to income. The camping and overland
safari visitors have a household
income of less than US $25 000 per
annum. Conversely, lodge safari
respondents and special campers
often stated an annual household
income of US $150 000 and above
(photograph 3).
The overland and camping
safari tourists are part of a budget
safari market, while lodge and spe-
cial camping tourists make up a lux-
ury safari market. Since Tanzania is
aiming for a high quality, high-priced
tourism product, it isimportant to
note that many budget tourists also
use the national parks and stayin the
public campsites. It must also be
noted that TANAPA receives more in
revenue from an individual staying in
acampsite than from an individual
staying at a lodge.
The mean group size in the sam-
ple wasapproximately 12 individuals
(table I), with significant differences
between user segments. Overland
tourists make up the largest groups,
with an average of 20 people per
group. Lodge safari groups have an
average of 11 people. Special campers
and camping safari visitors come in
much smaller groups of around 6 peo-
ple. Both special campers and camp-
ing safari visitors pay more for an inti-
mate social experience.
The vast majority (96%) of the
sample arrived at the park as part of
an organized safari. About 90% of all
safaris were organized outside
Tanzania. Foreign tourists said they
preferred the security of dealing with
their home travel companies.
However, about half (47.7%) of the
camping safari users purchased their
safari in Tanzania, a significantly
higher proportion than in the other
user segments. These users stay
longer in Tanzania and therefore have
agreater economic impact.
Table I.
Safari length and group size by user segment.
Segment Mean safari Mean days in Mean days in Mean group
length in days national parks Serengeti NP size
Overland safari 38.8* 4.6* 2.0 20.3*
Camping safari 9.3 5.8 2.1 6.0*
Lodge safari 10.6 7.5 2.5 11.0*
Special campers 10.3 8.4 2.9** 5.6*
Total sample 16.6 6.6 2.3 11.7
*Difference significant according to ANOVA results.
**Significant difference between special campers and overland and camping safari (ANOVA).
Table II. Service quality gaps in Serengeti National Park.
Service quality variable Service quality gap
(mean importance
minus mean performance)
Washrooms -1.29*
Quality of roads -1.10*
Availability of information -0.99*
Security from theft -0.82*
Visitor centre -0.46*
Low level of crowdedness -0.41*
Knowledge of guide -0.25*
Group harmony -0.13
Friendliness of TANAPA staff -0.13
Attractiveness of park -0.09
Security from wildlife attack -0.08
Friendliness of guide -0.08
Accommodation chosen +0.01
Good weather +0.54*
*Statistically significant difference amongst segments according to paired
sample t-tests.
BOIS ET FORÊTS DES TROPIQUES, 2006, N° 290 (4) 77
ÉCOTOURISME ET AIRES PROTÉGÉES
TANZANIE
Service quality
ratings
Service quality measurement is
an important element of tourism
management (Wade, Eagles, 2003).
Table II shows the service quality
gaps, i.e., the differences between
importance and performance, for the
Serengeti. Negative numbers fol-
lowed by an asterisk indicate a serv-
ice problem.
Therearemany significant neg-
ative service quality gaps. The quality
of washrooms and roads, availability
of information, security from theft,
the visitor centre, absence of over-
crowding and the level of knowledge
of the guide areallrated much lower
for performance than for importance.
All these aspects of service quality
must be improved if TANAPA is to
offer a high-quality, high-priced
tourism product. Good weather, a
natural dimension of service quality,
is the only significant positive gap.
Users of special campsites and
lodgesweresatisfied with their
accommodation, but public campers
were not satisfied with campsite
services. Over one quarter of respon-
dents mentioned problems with the
campsites, such as poor campsite
quality, bad toilets and litter. All the
problems were in the campsites man-
aged by TANAPA. The authors found
the TANAPA-managed campsites to
have atrocious toilet facilities, abun-
dant populations of the biting Tsetse
y,and lionsroaming in the campsite
at night and attacking tents. TANAPA
has a major problem with service
quality and safety in these campsites
(photograph 4).
This service quality problem is
particularly relevant since TANAPA
(2005) massively increased its use
fees on January 1, 2006 to US $50
per dayfor adults and US $10 per day
for children from 5 to 16. This fee
structure makes the Serengeti
National Park one of the most expen-
sive park destinations in the world.
The overall mean rating of the
park came to 1.77, with 90.4% of
respondents rating the park as excel-
lent or above average. This suggests
ahigh overalllevel of visitor satisfac-
tion with the park.
Park tourism data
management
Tear and Loibooki (1996)
found that the park had few staff ded-
icated to tourism management and
an unsophisticated tourism informa-
tion system. Tear (1997) noted a lack
of interest from the agency in tourism
management and monitoring.
Analysis showed that the statistics
for Serengeti may be understated by
as much as 30% due to clerical error
and staff fraud (Scdp, 1997).
Common clerical errors included:
The number of vehicles and the
number of vehicle days listed as
identical.
Inaccurate figures on nationality.
Inconsistency between gate offices
in data collection procedures.
Melamari (1996) reported that
Tanzanian residents accounted for
56% of visitors to the Serengeti in
1995. However, our study found that
in 1997, 0.9% of visitors were resi-
dents while Tear and Loibooki (1996)
found 0.5% wereresidents. Why this
large discrepancy? It is possible that
the official figures include park
entrants, people who transit through
the park but are not visitors. However,
amore insidious possibility exists. In
our work at another park, we found
that some of the gate attendants
charged visitors the high foreigner fee,
but recorded the visitors as national
citizens who paid the much lower fee.
Presumably, the park gate staff mem-
bers pocketed the difference. Clearly
there is a need for a major upgrading
of nancial and visitor management
procedures in this park.
This research shows an ineffi-
cient and ineffective tourism data
management system in Serengeti
National Park.
78 BOIS ET FORÊTS DES TROPIQUES, 2006, N° 290 (4)
TANZANIA
ECOTOURISM AND PROTECTED AREAS
Photo 3.
Sopa Lodge. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
PhotoP. F. J. Eagles.
Implications
Visitors to Serengeti National
Park arrive as part of a once-in-a-life-
time experience and are satisfied
with the wildlife and ecological fea-
tures of the park. Over 90% of
respondents to this survey gave the
park an overall rating of “excellent”
or “above average”. Visitors who had
visited Kenyan parks rated Serengeti
assuperior in terms of crowding lev-
els, sense of tranquility, variety of
wildlife, and overall.
Regarding the private-sector
services offered in the park, visitors
rated the knowledge and friendliness
of their guides as high, although
there was a service quality gap con-
cerning their knowledge. Visitors who
stayed at alodge or in one of the lux-
ury tent facilities in the special camp-
sites were also satisfied with their
accommodation. The private-sector
providers within the park offer good
quality service to park visitors.
There are many negative service
quality gaps for services operated by
TANAPA. Importantly, many park serv-
icesare ranked lower than those
offered in the protected areas of
Kenya and South Africa. Overland
campers, who travel through several
African countries, were especially
displeased with hygiene issues, rat-
ing the washrooms as very poor. This
suggests that park services are well
belowthe standards of other African
nations. This is especially relevant
consideringthat Tanzania wishes to
position itself as a low-density, high-
priced and high service quality desti-
nation, and national parks, which
haveseen recent large increases in
fees, are a major part of this sector.
TANAPA has an opportunity to
movetowards improving services
and updating their tourism goals.
Clearly, the budget tourism segments
have the potential to make a signifi-
cant impact on the local economies
of Serengeti and the entire country –
in particular through camping safari
users who organize their safari in
Tanzania and stay longer in the coun-
try. While national policy is focusing
on the high-end segment, TANAPA
needstodiversify and place a higher
priority on this all-important budget
segment.
Serengeti National Park has nat-
ural resources that compare very well
in the park tourism market (photo-
graph 5). However, the national park
has severe service quality problems
with park-operated services. There is
potential for higher levels of eco-
nomic impact with better financial
tracking and planning. The park has
twopossible routes for tourism man-
agement. All tourism services could
be turned over tothe private sector,
which has a proven record of high
service quality. Or TANAPA could
upgrade its own service delivery pro-
grams. The park needs an upgraded
tourism information system, with suf-
ficient numbers of trained staff, mod-
ern computer facilities, and a profes-
sional monitoring program. Action in
these areas will help Tanzania gain
market share in parktourism in Africa.
A
Ac
ck
kn
no
ow
wl
le
ed
dg
ge
em
me
en
nt
ts
s
Thanksto Lota Melamari, the Director
General of TANAPA, for permission
and encouragement to undertake
this study. Mr. B.C. Mwsaga of
TANAPA provided excellent adminis-
trative support for the field research.
Ms. Anne Ross of the University of
Waterloo provided comments. The
Canadian International Development
Agency provided the funding for the
study.
BOIS ET FORÊTS DES TROPIQUES, 2006, N° 290 (4) 79
ÉCOTOURISME ET AIRES PROTÉGÉES
TANZANIE
Photo 4.
Tanzanian National Park Agency campsites. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Photo P. F. J. Eagles.
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80 BOIS ET FORÊTS DES TROPIQUES, 2006, N° 290 (4)
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Photo 5.
Lion. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Photo P. F. J. Eagles.
... The land cover diversity and the vast endless Savannah plains in the park host the last remaining wildlife migration of about 1.3 wildebeests ( Sinclair et al. 2015). The park contributes substantially to the national economy compared to other fifteen national parks (Eagles and Wade 2006) and provides a significant employment opportunities for Tanzanians (Melamari 1996). Nature-based tourism in Serengeti is thus very important in Tanzania. ...
... If this disturbances increase, either tourism in Serengeti will likely be expensive or tourist may look for alternative destinations. The economic impact of this situation is overwhelming as the park contributes substantially to TANAPA's income and the country at large (Melamari 1996;Eagles et al. 2006). ...
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... In addition, campers and hotel guests are distinct subsets of tourists. Though very little research has examined the differences between them, the available literature suggests the tourists to hotels versus campgrounds vary in their demographics, length of stay, and demand for visitation (Becken & Gnoth, 2004;Eagles & Wade, 2006;Poudyal, Paudel, & Tarrant, 2013). For example, campers are most likely to be recreation tourists, unlike hotel guests which also include a lot of business travelers and family and friends-visiting tourists. ...
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... These studies do not indicate how many of these educated visitors had visited when they were in primary school. Most of the studies related to tourism specifically in SENAPA, focusing on tourist and local community perspectives ( Tear & Loibooki,1996;Eagles & Wade, 2006;Nelson, 2008;Kaltenborn et al., 2011;Sekar, Weiss & Dobson, 2014), do not give serious attention to primary school students. When we visited several primary schools in Bunda district adjacent to SENAPA, we found that most of the students reported they did not visit the Park. ...
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Serengeti, a World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve, is increasingly being threatened by human factors, which undermine its natural resource base and, therefore, contradict the ambition contained in Grzimeks' popular book 'Serengeti Shall Not Die'. We discuss five forces against the ambition: rapid human population growth, poverty, illegal hunting, habitat destruction, and wildlife diseases. We also review some of the current strategies adopted in view of pre-empting the negative outcomes resulting from these forces by pointing out their deficiencies. We conclude that, although human population growth and poverty are underlying factors threatening the Ecosystem, the current mitigative strategies barely address them adequately. We, therefore, recommend that, for Grzimeks' ambition to remain valid, the two factors should take priority. We also call for more research to establish the reasons making people exhibit unsustainable behaviours toward the resources. We further suggest learning from past mistakes in view of correcting the identified deficiencies. Support in the form of alternative sustainable livelihood strategies and discouraging all ecologically destructive policies are equally important. Drawing from experience of the Kenyan part of the Ecosystem we suggest banning of land privatization, commercial agriculture and other development policies conflicting with conservation interests around Serengeti National Park.
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