by Boyd Norton, July 7, 2012
It is one of the most famous names in the world. Almost any schoolchild, no matter where, can tell you about it. Many companies and services have adopted the appellation. Sunglasses and clothing lines are named for it. A Google search turns up 16M references. The very name rings with the sound of the exotic. It has become an icon of wild places.
The Tanzanian government reacted defensively, emphasizing the need for improved infrastructure to serve communities along the eastern shore of Lake Victoria. Without doubt, vastly improved infrastructure is needed in the region. Tanzania is a poor country, and though its economy has improved greatly in recent years, transportation of goods and services is poor in most places. However, tourism has become a $1.8 billion annual income earner and employs an estimated 600,000 people. Most of the tourists come to the Serengeti ecosystem. The collapse of this ecosystem could greatly diminish the tourism income.