According to a Tourists’ Safety and Security in Tanzania Project co-implemented by the Tanzania Association of Tourism Operators (TATO) and the Police Force report, the government has undertaken several regulatory reforms leading to improved security.
“Besides the regulatory reforms, there has been a significant shift in the mind-set of all participating actors hence the improved environment,” said Emmanuel Sulle and Wilbard Mkama, co-authors of the TATO commissioned report which was financed by the BEST-Dialogue.
The country which has witnessed tourist numbers increase from slightly over a million two years ago to nearly 1.5 million last year with $2.4 billion in earnings annually, has seen the government through the Police Force and Auxiliary Services Act of 2002, establish a central mandate of tourist security.
Thanks to the institutional reform, in 2013/14, the regulation was used to establish the diplomatic and tourism police unit responsible for the security of tourist’s diplomats visiting the country. The reforms also saw the creation of National Tourism Commissioner ‘s posts at the Force’s headquarters and at regional levels.
“These are credited with playing a significant role in ensuring tourist safety and security in the country,” the authors said giving an example of the Arusha Unit which has significantly increased patrols in and near the Northern tourism circuit in its latest efforts to ensure safety of the visitors.
The report further noted that among key successes is the shift in mind-set of all participating actors with an example of TATO-led initiatives in the Northern zone which ensures that tourists are now handled separately by special police officers.
In order to facilitate the realisation of the project, TATO members contributed financial and in-kind resources to build the Arusha tourism and diplomat’s police station and four police check points along the Kilimanjaro international Airport (KIA) to Ngorongoro Crater highway, the report added.
They further contributed cars for highway patrols and installed furniture and Internet services in a bid to make the police station a fully-fledged tourism and diplomatic post. The numbers of visible and covert police patrols on major highways from airports and hotels to high tourist destination areas such as Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater has increased over time.
“These patrols have greatly reduced carjacking and highway robbery incidents” the authors stated while noting that Arusha Police Station has in a short period of time shown significant progress in recovering money from pick-pocket rascals.
In 2017, the stations recovered $18,000 whereas in 2018 Arusha stations recovered $26,250. Additionally, in the financial year 2017/18, Arusha tourist police centres managed to file 26 fraud cases, while in 2018/19 only 18 cases were recorded.
“The decreasing number of cases is linked to increased effort from Arusha’s tourist police in tackling and tracking down fraudulent tourist activities” the report reads in part.
The study also categorized the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002 as another powerful tool that has been in place to ensure tourist security. Indeed, the regulations provides for gathering of security intelligence information to counteract terror threats that might endanger tourist security.