TANZANIA TO CELEBRATE MILLENNIUM ATOP MOUNT KILIMANJARO
ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT NEWS ON TUESDAY 23.12.99:
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania - About 1,000 tourists plan to usher in their millennium atop Mount Kilimanjaro, the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism has confirmed.
Zakia Meghji said Monday the event will fetch the country some 1.5 million US Dollars (about 1.2 billion Tsh) in foreign currency.
Ten locals are also expected to go up the mountain during the "Mount Kilimanjaro Top 2000 Expedition".
The first batch of mountain climbers is to be flagged off next Monday and they will be awarded certificates as they descend 2 January, 2000.
The excursions to Africa's highest mountain form part of the country's millennium celebrations, whose climax will be marked in Dar Es Salaam.
Meghji said the mountain climbing fees had however been hiked by 100 percent to 100 US dollars in order to put off mass bookings due to contingency reasons and to ultimately guarantee the safety of the environment.
Security had been beefed up and rescue teams identified to ensure the safety of the millennium celebrants, Meghji noted.
Another monumental event shall be the establishment of a Tanzania Millennium village next year in Dar Es Salaam, depicting the major historical, cultural, social and natural attractions available in the country, according to Meghji.
Other activities involve the planting of an estimated 20 million tree seedlings throughout the country, thus boosting by 20 percent the national target of planting 100 million trees by the end of 2000.
Tourism is Tanzania's second foreign exchange earner after agriculture. In 1997, it received 360,000 tourists, who generated 392.4 million US dollars.
In 1998, the World Tourism Organisation recorded that Tanzania ranked 11 among Africa's 20 top tourist destinations.
Most of the tourists come from Europe, the US, Japan, Korea and South Africa.
The tourism sector employs 35,000 workers and it is growing at 11.4 percent while revenues are increasing at 23.3 percent annually.