Tanzanian’s President John Magufuli has lauded the members of Tanzania Association of Tour Operators for leading the way in complementing the government efforts in bringing about development.
In his brief comment shortly after having been inaugurated an ultra-modern Arusha Tourism and Diplomacy Police Station worth nearly $87,000 (TSh 194 million), meant to deal with tourism and diplomacy cases built by TATO members, Dr Magufuli said the spirit was worth emulation.
“I would like to see other regional authorities to emulate the Arusha spirit where public and private sectors come together, chart out and implement their development projects” Dr. Magufuli explained
TATO’s mission is to ensure Arusha — the Tanzania’s northern tourism hub — remains safe haven for both foreign tourists and diplomats.
In addition to seeing tourists and diplomats enjoy maximum security in the safari capital, the ultra-modern police station will apparently raise the profile of the country.
The tourism industry in Tanzania has of late witnessed the emergency of unscrupulous tour operators, particularly those targeting cost-cutting foreign visitors.
Some self-proclaimed tour operators, for instance, advertise bogus safari products at throw away prices online to lure and con tourists upon their arrivals.
Given limited time they have to follow up on such cases, foreign tourists often left unhappy with a tainted image of the country lingering in their minds.
The first police facility of its kind in the country is, therefore, tailor-made for facilitating the state organ to fast track these and all other cases tourists file.
“Security for tourists is our number one priority. We’ve decided to join forces with the Police by building this special police station dedicated for their cases,” Mr Willy Chambulo, the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) Chairman, said.
The facility is part of the TATO and Police Force working relation which dates back to 2013 when the state organ bought the tour operators’ proposal to establish a desk earmarked for foreign tourists and diplomats in the country.
Thanks to BEST Dialogue Tanzania for its financial support that saw the project takes off. The overarching goal of the business, advocacy and dialogue facility is to ensure the private sector becomes the engine of growth in the country.
Tanzania’s Inspector General of Police commended TATO for its tireless efforts to support the special police unit assigned to serve foreign tourists and diplomats.
Official data showed tourists arrival declined by 10 per cent in 2009 when the country received 576,663 tourists, down from 641,951 in 2008.
The shocking figures prompted the tour operators to embark on a lobbying spree to ensure a special police unit is dedicated to restoring confidence of tourists.
TATO Chief Executive Officer Sirili Akko admitted that the unit has registered significant impact on the development of the tourism industry since.
“The achievements so far recorded confirm that peace and security are critical factors in attracting more visitors to any destination,” he observed.
Tourism is Tanzania’s largest foreign exchange earner, contributing an average of $2 billion annually, which is equivalent to 25 per cent of all exchange earnings, the government data indicate.
Tourism also contributes to more than 17 per cent of the national gross domestic product (GPD), creating more than 1.5 million jobs.
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