Tanzania Association of Tour Operators’ CEO, Sirili Akko told visiting Traffic Police Commander, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police, Fortunatus Muslimu that tour and travel business owners appreciate the law enforcers for curbing road carnage and extending good cooperation with them at all times.
“The feedback we get from our members and the media make us be grateful to you and your team for being able to reduce road accidents in recent times,” Ako said when SACP Muslimu paid a courtesy call at Tato headquarters in Arusha city last week.
He said the Police Force’s efforts to stop criminals from harassing good citizens who welcome tourists has meant that foreigners feel secure to come to Tanzania. Akko explained that safety and security are key perquisites to woo tourists in the country, pleading with SACP Muslimu to continue working diligently to improve security.
In remarks at the meeting, SACP Muslimu expressed his appreciation to Tato members for cooperating with law enforcers in a strategic partnership with Tanzania Police Force which spans for many decades. “I came here to Tato offices to say thank you so much for being our best ally. It's obvious that the Police alone cannot achieve much without you. For instance, without Tato’s support, we wouldn't be able to reduce road blocks along the Northern Tourism Circuit,” he explained.
The country’s top traffic police chief who was accompanied by Arusha Regional Traffic Commander, superintendent of police (SP) Solomon Mwangamilo, said because of the good cooperation, the force has reduced the number of roadblocks along busy Northern Tourist Enclave roads to offer the holidaymakers a hassle-free journey.
The law enforcers were forced to reduce roadblocks following complaints by Tato members over numerous traffic police interventions which irritated foreign visitors hence threatened to make destination Tanzania hostile.
Founder of Mount Kilimanjaro Safari Club, Dennis Leboteux who is a member of Tato, commended the police force for keeping the destination safe. “Even travel advisories in foreign embassies’ websites have changed their narratives nowadays on safety of Tanzania especially on terrorism, road carnages and banditry. We are one team promoting destination Tanzania against others in the world,” Leboteux said.
Chairman of Tato, Wilbard Chambulo who led protests against the numerous road blocks with between 25 and 31 from Kilimanjaro International Airport to Karatu, a nearly 200km journey, said there is big relief following the reduction of the stops.
Tato also built a state-of-the-art tourism and diplomacy police station in City of Arusha to assist the police force tame crime involving foreign tourists. The tour operators also facilitated training of the police officers on basic French language and diplomatic etiquettes to handle tourists.
Tourism is the country top foreign currency earner, contributing an average of over U$2 billion annually, which is equivalent to 25 percent of total foreign exchange earnings per annum. The industry also contributes more than 17.5 percent of gross domestic product while creating more than 1.5 million jobs directly and indirectly.