The threat of COVID-19 to the conservation of Tanzanian national parks

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In many low-income countries, the conservation of natural resources in protected areas relies on tourism revenue. However, tourist numbers in Africa were severely reduced by the COVID-19 pandemic, thus, putting the conservation of these important protected areas at risk. We use records from gate passings at national parks across Tanzania to demonstrate the immediate and severe impact on tourist numbers and revenues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions, and whether international and local (East African) tourists were affected equally. We discuss mechanisms that may reduce future negative impacts of sudden loss of revenue from international tourism, such as increasing the revenue portfolio and thereby decrease the dependency on revenues from international tourists. More important, we encourage local governments, national park authorities, and the world community to further develop and initiate external funding options to reduce the dependency on income from international nature-based tourism to preserve national parks and biodiversity. An additional long-term goal for ensuring sustained conservation would be to increase benefits to local communities adjacent to national parks, encouraging local involvement and thereby reducing the dependence on external funding in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110037
JournalBiological Conservation
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors

    Research areas

  • Conservation, COVID-19, National parks, Pandemic, Revenues, Tourism decline

ID: 344795219