Foreign tourists attacked in Dar es Salaam
Tanzanian tourism industry shocked by surge of violence against visitors
(eTN) - Foreign visitors staying in some of the posh hotels in Dar es Salaam have become victims of the recent wave of attacks carried out in what previously thought to be safe areas of the capital.
According to sources in Dar es Salaam, this sudden surge in what used to be very few and isolated incidents, could suggest an escalation of gang 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’.
The hotel association of Tanzania was the first organization to officially write letter to the 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 tourism stakeholder groups, such as the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators and the Tourism Confederation of Tanzania have not yet officially gone on record, but the members of TATA in Dar es Salaam have equally expressed their concern.
This wave of attacks is taken seriously amongst foreign embassies’ personnel in Dar es Salaam. The diplomatic staff is instructed 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 one’s hotel instead of being exposed to violent attacks while on foot.
At least one more source has indicated that the police in Dar es Salaam have sent out more patrols into the neighborhood of the city’s leading hotels but only time will tell how effective that will be.