Mount Kilimanjaro Cable Car: Tanzania Government Now Responds to Critics

The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr. Damas Ndumbaro, said that he will meet with tour operators in Northern Tanzania’s tourist region of Kilimanjaro on March 8 for positive discussions to resolve the protest raised by the operators who are opposing cable car expeditions on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Tour operators, mostly specialized in the lucrative mountain climbing safaris, have come up with fists, protesting the government’s decision to introduce the cable car trips on the mountain. They have also pleaded for President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s intervention.

In their meeting held in Arusha this week, the tour operators opposed Tanzania government’s plan to introduce a cable car on Mount Kilimanjaro – an exercise they said would minimize tourism revenues accrued from the mountain climbers.

Dr. Ndumbaro said the government had planned to introduce the cable car on the mountain in order to allow disabled people and those with limited time for trekking the mountain on foot to use the cable car.

The Chairman of Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO), Mr. Willy Chambulo, said this week that introduction of the cable car on the mountain will affect the mountain’s fragile environment in addition to making it lose its status, on top of losing revenues for tour operators.

Back in 2019, the then Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr. Hamisi Kigwangalla, said running cable cars on Mount Kilimanjaro will increase tourist numbers by 50 percent by providing easier access to the mountain.

Tourist stakeholders speculate the multimillion-dollar cable car venture could be a disaster to Africa’s tallest mountain and its environs.

They fear the cable car plan would degrade Mount Kilimanjaro’s prime tourism status and the environment, while others dispute the tendering process.

But the Minister assured them that the Tanzanian government will discuss the proposed project with all stakeholders to reach a consensus on the matter.

“On March 8, I will hold a meeting with stakeholders in Moshi so that we can discuss the issue. If we agree that the cable car project is not worth it then we will leave it. So, the discussion will decide,” Dr. Ndumbaro said.

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They argue that the first attempt to install a cable car on the mountain was made in 1968 but failed to take hold, on the grounds that it could spoil the natural beauty of the mountain and its pristine environment.

With a height of 5,895 meters, Mount Kilimanjaro is the leading tourist attraction in Tanzania, pulling over 50,000 climbers to its slopes from across the world per year.

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