ARUSHA, Tanzania (eTN) – The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) is up in arms against the local authority over a recent incident in which a Rainbow shuttle with tourists on board was delayed for hours in the country’s safari capital city of Arusha over a parking fee standoff.
Rainbow, the most Tanzania’s reputable company, operates shuttle services between Tanzania and Kenya. Recently, it was learned that its minibus shuttle with tourists on transit to Nairobi, Kenya, for flight connections, were chained in Arusha for nearly five hours by a private firm that was mandated to collect a parking fee.
Under normal procedures, the parking fees collector’s firm was supposed to send an invoice to the Rainbow shuttle office at the heart of Arusha city, but for unknown reasons, the company decided to block the shuttle from traveling to Nairobi and unnecessarily disrupted tourists’ travel plans.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the recent disturbed tourist delay incident right here in Arusha,” said Mr. Sirili Akko, TATO’s Executive Officer, in a statement to eTurboNews.
Mr. Akko said TATO was shocked by the episode mostly because the parking fee firm acted unprofessionally for punishing innocent tourists.
“[The] Rainbow shuttle office is very famous here in Arusha; why doesn’t the parking fee company send the invoice there instead of applying [such a] rude approach?” queried Mr. Akko, adding: “This isolated occurrence frustrated the country’s effort to woo tourists.”
“If there is one thing that people of Arusha should derive from the incident, it should be the collective will for a society reassessment of our shared responsibility values to condemn, and the collective will to espouse new perspectives to our common future,” the TATO official noted.
He, however, called on the government to do everything possible to ensure that the wrongdoers are swiftly brought to justice.
TATO in their part is now preparing a meeting with the Arusha City Authority fathers over the matter in a bid to prevent such an incident from occurring again in future.
Commenting, the Rainbow Shuttle Ltd. Managing Director, Mathew Mollel, said the incident caught him by a surprise, because his company had never defaulted a parking fee payment whatsoever.
Displaying the bundle of receipts showing his clean record of paying parking fees, Mr. Mollel said the people behind the episode wanted to tarnish his business name and reputation before the tourists’ welfare.
“I’ve already consulted my lawyers, and now they are working on modalities to file a lawsuit against the parking fees collector’s firm,” Mr. Mollel told eTurboNews in Arusha.
He was of the view that the Arusha City authority should employ qualified agencies to work for it in a bid to maintain the diplomatic status of Arusha city in their operations.
Rainbow Shuttle & Car Hire Ltd. was established in 2005. It is owned by a Tanzanian citizen of Maasai indigenous, Mr. Matthew Shamba Mollel.
Mr. Mollel has over 20 years experience in the tourism industry, and all of his staff have over 15 plus years experience in both the tourism industry and practical experience in driving all over East Africa.