Tanzanian official urges beauty queens to boost tourism

An official at Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area is encouraging contestants in the National Miss Utalii pageant to use their assets to boost tourism.

Public relations manager Adam Akyoo said that beauty pageants would attract more tourists to a region already famous for its wildlife.

The dozen contenders for the Miss Utalii pageant are all university or college students from Tanzania’s northern region, where the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is located. The most famous beauty queen from this region is Miriam Odemba, pictured here. She was crowned first runner up for Miss Earth in 2008, winning the title Miss Earth Air.

Much of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is taken up by a large caldera and is home to Olduvai Gorge and its rich collection of fossils of early humans. Huge herds of zebra and wildebeest migrate through the area twice a year and thanks to this it has large populations of lions and cheetahs. Other animals include hippos, rhinos, leopards, elephants, and hyenas.

Unlike many parks in Africa, humans are allowed to use the land for limited agriculture and grazing. The Maasai bring their herds into the caldera every day, but must leave before dark. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is popular with safaris and adventure travelers.