American tycoon and leisure investor, Paul Tudor Jones, has just upped his stake in Tanzania’s Serengeti district, by agreeing to finance the construction of an international airport in the region.
According to John Ng’oina, Serengeti District Council Chairman, “Mr Jones has agreed and he has written to us a letter, accepting to finance construction of the airport. We are now waiting completion of the master plan and the go ahead from the Ministry of Transport. After the construction, the airport will be handed over to Serengeti District Council.”
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The airport is expected to transform the Mugumu town in Serengeti into a tourist hub, as it will make it easier for foreign tourists, who come in the thousands to visit the Serengeti, to fly directly into the area, and then use short distance vehicles to reach the wildlife park. Though no financial details of the project were made available, the airport will certainly go a long way in boosting revenues for the Serengeti council.
Mr Jones has already set up super-luxury lodges, operated by Singita Grumeti Reserves (SGR), in the area. They include Sasakwa, Farufaru, Sabora Tented Camp, and Singita Explore Mobile Camp. Recently the properties were cited by Travel- Leisure Magazine of the United States as the best for 2012, from a list of top 100 hotels in the world, for the second year running.
It may be noted that Paul Tudor Jones is a long time investor in Tanzania’s leisure industry. In May it was reported that his Grumeti Reserves resort has partnered with Singita, a world-famous tourism operator, to further develop the former’s 340,000 acre wildlife franchise and safari destination on the borders of the Serengeti National Park.
According to the press release, “Grumeti Reserves, one of the world’s most luxurious eco-tourism resorts, was established in 2003. Backed by American financier and environmental philanthropist Paul Tudor Jones, the 340,000 acre resort is located on the western boundary of the Serengeti National Park. The concession is comprised of Ikorongo Game Reserve, Grumeti Game Reserve, and Fort Ikoma Open Area. Grumeti Reserves is, and will remain, the sole legal concession holder of these three concessions. As a privately held concession, it offers seclusion and exclusivity, highlighted by the annual wildebeest migration, which passes through these areas in the months of June, July, and August, and again in November.”