In a bid to increase tourist numbers, Tanzania is considering introducing a cable car on Africa’s tallest mountain – Mount Kilimanjaro. However, local mountain workers and staff, oppose this decision.
Around 50,000 tourists climb Kilimanjaro annually. A cable car could increase tourist numbers by a whopping 50% by providing access to the mountain for those who are unable to climb it, says Constantine Kanyasu, the country’s deputy minister for tourism.
“The country is conducting feasibility studies on possible routes at the moment”, Kanyasu says. To accelerate this process, the Tanzanian government is looking at business plans, potential investors and profits.
Porter and guide groups who take tourists up the mountain oppose the project because they fear cable cars will reduce the number of climbers. Loishiye Mollel, head of Tanzania Porters’ Organisation, says visitors spend about a week climbing the mountain.
“One visitor from the U.S. can have a maximum of 15 people behind him, of which 13 are porters, a cook and a guide. All these jobs will be affected by a cable car”, he adds
“We are of the view that the mountain should be left as it is”. There are about 20,000 porters working between Mount Kilimanjaro and Meru, another mountain nearby, he says.
Tanzania’s earnings from tourism jumped 7.13% last year, helped by an increase in arrivals from foreign visitors. Tourism revenues raised $2.43 billion for the year, up from $2.19 billion in 2017.
Tourism is the main source of hard currency in Tanzania, known for its beaches, wildlife safaris and Mount Kilimanjaro, which has three volcanic cones and is nearly 5,000 metres high from its base.