Tuesday, 14 February 2012

How Olduvai Camp Provides the World with Insights into Tanzania

Stakeholders in Tanzania's tourism industry say the recent choice of the Olduvai Camp in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area as the best lodge in the world is a golden chance for the country to convince tourists across the world to visit Tanzania. "This is good news because it helps the world to open its eyes about Tanzania, and at the same time it convinces the government to put more attention on tourism," said the minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Ezekiel Maige, in an interview in Dodoma this week.In his congratulatory message, Mr Maige said: "The government should take advantage of this new development in the promotion of the tourism sector."

The Arusha-headquartered Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (Tato) has said the country's tourism industry stands to gain a lot after the Olduvai Camp was recently voted the best lodge in the world. The Olduvai Camp built and owned by Mount Kilimanjaro Safari Club was named the best lodge in the world by a French celebrated magazine called Hotel & Lodge at its annual awards ceremony at the Park Hyatt-Vendome in Paris, France, this January. Mount Kilimanjaro Safari Club, whose Chairman is Mr Gerard Pasanisi, is part of TAWISA Group and is on the scenic Olduvai Gorge within the spectacular Ngorongoro conservation area.

Interviewed by phone from Nice, France, Mr Pasanisi said he had dedicated most of his life towards the promotion of Tanzania's tourism, adding: "I knew that soon Tanzania would become the preferred tourism destination, thanks to the stability of the country, its efforts in wildlife conservation and the dynamism of the private sector."

In a congratulatory message to Mount Kilimanjaro Safari Club director Dennis Lebouteux, the executive officer of Tato, Mr Sirili Akko said: "Tato is very proud indeed for the Mount Kilimanjaro Safari Club's tireless efforts to promote Tanzania tourism industry overseas by providing the best quality services to clients." Mr Akko said through Olduvai Camp success story Tanzania tourism industry stands to benefit in terms of positive publicity in the international arena. He said Mount Kilimanjaro Safari Club justifies why the country should lobby and advocate more for the good course of the tourism industry and the private sector in general.  A statement issued by the magazine said its annual award event serves to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence of hotels and lodges across the world, especially in emerging markets. According to the statement, more than 450 industry professionals from around the world were invited to participate in the voting process that saw the Mount Kilimanjaro Safari Club owned Olduvai Camp emerge victorious. Initially, about 60 lodges were selected worldwide to compete, with the final listing conducted by an independent jury of journalists, photographers and designers. In the end three properties made the final cut.

After Olduvai Camp, those that followed were, Molori Safari Lodge in South Africa and The Ranch at Rock Creek in the United States was third. An incredible harmony of shapes and colours, the Olduvai Camp stands out as a remarkable adventure in hospitality. Set in an ideal landscape for history and art lovers, photo maniacs and walkers, the Olduvai Camp's exterior is sleek with a unique combination of an "industrial" and a natural look.The stylish interior, however, is in direct contrast - offering a warm, inviting and comfortable feel, according to the competition organisers.

The Lodge's chief editor, Ms AnneMarie Catellin le Du, said Olduvai Camp's face-lift and the unique atmosphere of Olduvai gave it an edge above the rest. "This is a true recognition of the passion and commitment of Mount Kilimanjaro Safari Club and a reflection of their owners' long dedication to Tanzania," Mrs Anne-Marie told The Citizen on Sunday.

On receiving the award, Mr Lebouteux said: "We are very proud and happy to have been chosen for this prestigious prize. I would like to thank the journalists and the photographers who came and made a superb job." He hailed Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority for offering a unique site, and all of Mount Kilimanjaro Safari Club staff, camp team and all those who worked hard in Arusha to make Olduvai Camp to be the world's best lodge. "It is their dedication and loyalty that has contributed to where we are today," he said in a statement. Early last month, The New York Times selected Tanzania among 45 places for tourists to visit in 2012, saying: "Tanzania is coming into its own as an upscale safari destination". The New York-based newspaper said in its January 6, 2012, edition that Tanzania emerged number seven out of the 45 selected places to go in 2012. The New York Times quoted East African travel specialists, as saying that for the last several years, the number of tourists going to Tanzania has been edging up.

Apart from Tanzania, other Africans countries picked by The New York Times as a place to go in 2012 were Morocco that emerged number 26 and Uganda which emerged number 33. Last year, 782,699 tourists visited Tanzania earning the country $1.3billion.


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