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Tanzania Targets Rich American Safari Hunters to Beef Up Tourism

Image courtesy of Thierry Milherou from Pixabay

The Tanzania government is now searching and attracting potential and rich American safari hunters, targeting the growing game hunting tourism market in the United States of America.

The Tanzania Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism went to Las Vegas in the United States late in January to market Tanzania’s lucrative hunting safaris at the 50th Annual Hunting Convention held late in January. The Ministry said that the minister was in the United States to market Tanzania’s hunting blocks before the rich American hunting safari tourists and other trophy hunting investors around the world.

Dr. Ndumbaro led a delegation of top officials from the government and private hunting companies operating in Tanzania to participate in the meeting that was organized by the World Hunting Association which brought together over 870 exhibitors to showcase the trophy hunting business in wildlife parts and products from several countries.

The minister said that Tanzania would be able to market its hunting blocks and then attract international hunting companies while learning about new strategies that would make hunting safaris more profitable to earn more revenue for the government of Tanzania.

Tanzania has been focused on attracting high-spending American tourists, mostly those who pay more US dollars to go on hunting safaris for big wild animals. A 21-day full hunting safari in Tanzania cost about US$60,000 excluding flights, gun import permits, and trophy fees.

Trophy fees for hunting an elephant and a lion are the most expensive. Hunters are required to pay US$15,000 to kill an elephant and US$12,000 is paid to kill a lion under strict regulations by wildlife authorities. Stray elephants and lions, including the aged and unproductive ones, are the only group of such animals which hunters are allowed to hunt for trophies.

Professional hunters booked to Tanzania are mostly Americans who are counted as the biggest spenders booked on hunting safaris in Africa.

The United States lifted a ban on the importation of wildlife trophies from Tanzania a few years ago to allow American hunters to visit Tanzania for hunting safaris. The US government had earlier in 2014 imposed a ban on all wildlife related products or trophies from Tanzania after serious poaching incidents reported by the American media and wildlife protection campaigners.

During his visit to Tanzania in 2013, former US President Barrack Obama issued a Presidential Executive Order to fight wildlife poaching in Tanzania and other African countries threatened with poaching, then banned export of trophies from Tanzania to the United States.

Big game hunting is currently a thriving business in Tanzania where big hunting companies attract wealthy tourists to carry out expensive safari expeditions for big-game hunting in game reserves. The Tanzania government is currently allocating wildlife hunting blocks through auction, aiming to increase transparency then allowing competition in the hunting market to raise more revenues from tourist safari hunting. Tourist hunting blocks are graded in three categories in which the bidders pay different fees, depending on the category of the hunting block.

A new system (e-auctioning) has the potential to attract foreign and local companies to own hunting blocks in a more transparent mode that will allow the government to collect more revenues from wildlife hunting, the Ministry of Natural Resources said. Under the new system, a hunting block will be under the owner or hunting company for 10 consecutive years from the previous 5 years for the First and Second Class Blocks, while owners of the Third Class hunting blocks will own their blocks for 15 years instead of the previous 5 years.

The Tanzania government has also waived various taxes charged to foreign hunting companies to attract more tourist hunters to visit Tanzania. Eligible hunting companies can be allocated up to 5 hunting blocks each, which shall be of different categories during the auctioning. Hunting blocks in Tanzania are confined in 38 wildlife reserves, controlled game reserves, and open areas. 

Tanzania hunting is all free range in wilderness areas owned by the government and leased by hunting companies. Leased prime hunting areas offer full bag safaris which include lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and plain game.

The hunting season in Tanzania this year will start from May 1 to December 31, while the best time for hunting is from July 1 to the end of October.

The Wildlife Act 2009 gave professional hunters rights to conduct wildlife hunting business through a hunting permit and license under the Tourist Hunting Regulations. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is now supporting Tanzania to develop Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) as part of the American support in tourism sector.

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Apolinari Tairo - eTN Tanzania

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