(Bloomberg) -- Tanzania has installed high-speed internet on Mt. Kilimanjaro this week, part of a plan to lure tourists and triple arrivals to the East African nation in two years.
The new connectivity on Africa’s highest mountain will initially benefit as many as 1,000 climbers on various stages of the trek every day, according to the East African nation’s Information, Communication, and Information Technology Minister Nape Nnauye. Coverage will reach the Kilimanjaro summit by the end of the year and thousands more mountaineers will be able to log-in, according to Nnauye.
The facility introduced by state-owned Tanzania Telecommunications Corp. will allow “tourists to access live streaming services, make calls and post their mountain-climbing adventures on social media platforms, thus helping to promote our tourism sector,” Nnauye said. Until this week, tourists depended on satellite phones for communication, which made the trek more costly and some visitors felt unsafe, according to local tour guides.
Tourist arrivals in Tanzania, home of the Serengeti nature reserve and pristine beaches of Zanzibar, are just recovering after dropping to less than a third of the 1.5 million before the pandemic. The number of arrivals jumped 62.7% to 742,133 in the seven months through July, compared with a year earlier, according to data from the national statistics office.
Projects such as connecting Kilimanjaro’s peaks are part of a plan, not only to hasten Tanzania’s tourism rebound, but to ultimately increase arrivals to 5 million annually by 2025. President Samia Suluhu Hassan was featured on PBS’s Royal Tour program as part of a strategy to promote Tanzanian destinations.
At any given time, there are as many as 6,000 climbers and trekkers on Mt. Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano, and better connectivity is likely to increase the number, according to the government.
Revenue collections from the mountain are poised to increase, according to Nnauye, and further boost the importance of tourism which already accounts for most of the nation’s foreign-currency earnings after gold exports.
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