TANZANIA’S TOURISM SECTOR DEMANDS ANTI POACHING OPERATION TO CONTINUE
(Posted 12th November 2013)
In news just in has the Tourism Confederation of Tanzania, the apex body of all tourism sectoral associations, issued a statement in regard of plans by the Tanzanian government to halt the current anti poaching operation due to concerns over human rights abuses and misdirected focus and instead intensify the campaign and not give the commercial poaching syndicates a break which can be used to kill yet more elephant. This has been reported here in length already and while a level of misdirection was evident, as admitted also by President Jakaya Kikwete in his address to parliament last week, concerns have been expressed that this could have been engineered by powerful interests involved in poaching to gain time and regroup and reorganized themselves. The demand by the country’s tourism apex body is therefore not coming unexpected and it is anticipated that the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ambassador Khamis Kagesheki, will take that message on board when deciding on the way forward.
The full statement is shown herebelow:
TOURISM Confederation of Tanzania (TCT), a tourism private sector
body, has appealed to the government to reconsider its decision to
suspend indefinitely the anti-poaching campaign, Operation Terminate
(Operation Tokomeza) on grounds of human rights abuse and violation.
A statement issued by TCT in Arusha further beseeched the government
to continue with the operation.
"It is the position of TCT that the suspension of the operation will
only aggravate the situation by giving poachers and their sponsors
more time to reorganize and plan for some new strategies that may have
devastating effects on the remaining elephant herds in the
wilderness," read part of the statement.
Tanzania’s tourism strength, it said, emanates from its staggering
range of wildlife, excellent species diversity, and evocative acacia
and baobab studded landscapes which makes the country one of the
greatest safari destination.
The Netherlands based "safaribookings.com‘s" research (2013) has
concluded that Tanzania is the best Safari Destination in Africa.
In terms of natural resources, the annual World Economic Forum
Competitiveness Study for Travel and Tourism (2011) rated Tanzania
second position in the World after Brazil.
Tanzania is also regarded as the last frontier of the worlds’ largest
parks allowing free grazing of wildlife. According to the statement,
allowing the continued systematic slaughter of our wildlife through
poaching, elephants in particular, will completely undermine the
competitive advantage that Tanzania has on world tourism.
"TCT therefore strongly urges the government to reconsider its
decision to halt this anti-poaching campaign," the statement added.
The statement further said that the campaign had already recorded
"In the last two months alone, it was able to recover thousands of
elephant tusks (ivory), arrested over 1,400 poachers, along with
hundreds of illegal firearms including muzzle loaders and 1,400 rounds
This is a very positive move which both the government and the people
are proud of," the statement noted. TCT is definitely cognizant of the
abuses that have happened in the course of administering this campaign
and in no way supports this whatsoever, it partly read.
"TCT therefore commends the government for forming a probe team to
look into this serious matter. Our recommendation however is that, in
the interest of tourism, we urge the government to continue with the
operation and at the same time, in the interest of good governance and
upholding of human rights principles, the government continues with
the probe. Both issues can be handled and addressed simultaneously,"
the statement further said.
TCT is an umbrella organization representing tourism private business
sector involved in travel and tourism.
The organisation’s current members include Tanzania Association of
Travel Agents (TASOTA), Tanzania Air Operators Association (TAOA),
Hotels Association of Tanzania (HAT), Intra-African Travel and Tourism
Association (ITTA) and Tanzania Hunting Operators Association (TAHOA).
Others are Tanzania Professional Hunters Association (TPHA), Tanzania
Tour Guides Association (TTGA), Zanzibar Association of Tourism
Investors (ZATI), Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) and
Tourism and Hospitality Professionals Association of Tanzania (THPAT).
Richard O Rugimbana
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania