Tanzanian police to reduce roadblocks on tourist routes

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Tanzania’s Police Force would reduce the number of roadblocks along the routes to the tourism attraction sites to offer the holiday-makers a hassle-free journey, a cabinet minister has announced.

The move is following complaints from Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) over thick presence of traffic police on the roads leading to tourists attractions, each competing to stop tourists’ vehicles for unnecessary checkup.

TATO Chairman, Wilbard Chambulo says from Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), a major gateway into northern tourism circuit, to Karatu vicinity nearly 200km stretch, there are between 25-31 impromptu police stopovers, unnecessarily consuming the tourists’ leisure time.

“I direct all Regional Police Commanders in the tourism hotspots across the country to trim down the barriers to one or two, should deemed necessary for the vehicles carrying tourists” announced, Kangi Lugola, a newly appointed Home Affairs Minister, during his maiden meeting with tourism stakeholders in Arusha.

He directed police force to facilitate tourists to enjoy the country’s endowed natural attractions so as to prove that Tanzania is, indeed, among the best tourism destinations in the World.

“TATO should give us feedback on the reduction of roadblocks and other key services offered by police to our dear tourists in order to know where they need improvement” Mr Lugola explained.

In case, the tour drivers commit any traffic offence, police should record and send the fine bills to the tour company rather than blocking the vehicle with tourists on board.

“We all want to obey the rules of the road. But it is difficult sometimes to know what those rules are when traffic policemen tell you it is an offence to have a dirty car, or a torn seat” said TATO CEO, Mr Sirili Akko.

Majority of tour guides say that arguing with traffic police is not an option when one has tourists in the car who are scared of hostile policemen carrying guns.

It is understood, Tanzania’s Road Traffic Act does not speak of these offences.

Tourism is Tanzania’s largest foreign exchange earner, contributing an average of $2 plus billion annually, which is equivalent to 25 percent of all exchange earnings, the government data indicate.

Tourism also contributes to more than 17.5 percent of the national gross domestic product (GPD), creating more than 1.5 million jobs.