TANZANIA TOURISM INDUSTRY SHOCKED BY UPSURGE OF VIOLENCE AGAINST VISITORS
Information has come to light from the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, that of late a wave of attacks was carried out on foreign visitors staying in some of the poshest hotels in the city, when walking in the evening what were previously thought to be safe roads and environments.
A regular source from Dar es Salaam has expressed concern to this correspondent over this sudden upsurge in what used to be very few and isolated incidents, suddenly escalating to a level which could suggest a gang like and well organized activity. The following detailed comments were copied in a mail yesterday and make stark reading: Since a couple of weeks, the crime is intensifying in Dar es Salaam, culminating in physical attacks on hotel guests every night of this week in different locations of the city centre and Masaki. For your reference: last night in front of the Serena a guest got attacked, the night before in front of the Southern Sun, the night before that in front of the Spur’s next to the Sea Cliff and 2 guests walking back from the Epi d’or to the Sea Cliff Hotel…. the list goes on and on. Both Knight Support and the American Embassy are giving out alerts since last week.
It was also learned that the hotel association of Tanzania was the first to officially write to the governments permanent secretary in the ministry of natural resources and tourism, drawing his attention to the growing problem, which in part reads: On behalf of our members in Dar es Salaam, we wish to bring to your attention a rise in numbers as well as severity in physical assaults on tourists and the general public around hotels and restaurants in the City Centre as well as in Masaki. There were incidents taking place each night of this week, culminating in an incident last night in front of the Serena Dar es Salaam Hotel.
As the attacks on tourists will bring a bad image to the country as a whole and the Tourism Sector in specific, we turn to your office to help us address the issue urgently and ensure effective and prompt follow up by the respective authorities.
Police reports have been filed, but we are seeking your assistance to intervene at your level at the same time to prevent further damage to Tanzania’s reputation and individuals being hurt.
Other stakeholder groups, such as the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators and the Tourism Confederation of Tanzania have not officially gone on record as yet but members of TATA in Dar es Salaam have equally expressed their concern if not outrage to this correspondent when making enquiries.
At least one Embassy source from Dar es Salaam has given, on condition of strictest anonymity, the information that this wave of attacks is taken seriously amongst embassy personnel and that internal use or word of mouth information is circulating amongst diplomatic staff to be extra vigilant. Added travel advisories too are being considered to make visitors from various countries fully aware of the risk now in place of walking between venues, which will undoubtedly contain recommendations to use cabs when visiting restaurants, even within short walking distance from ones hotel instead of being exposed to violent attacks and possible worse while on foot.
At least one more source has indicated that the police in Dar es Salaam has belatedly also sent out more patrols into the neighbourhood of the citys leading hotels but only time will tell how effective that will be. Watch this space.