How legal and institutional reforms improved security for tourists in Tanzania

How legal and institutional reforms improved security for tourists in Tanzania

Tanzania’s security and safety for tourists has been significantly improved, offering a ray of hope for a multi-billion-dollar industry, a new study has revealed. Tanzania is one of key tourism destinations in the world, attracting nearly 1.5 million visitors, who leave behind $2.4 billion annually, thanks to its amazing wilderness, incredible natural landscapes and friendly people.

The evaluation of the Tourists’ Safety and Security in Tanzania Project, co-implemented by the Tanzania Association of Tourism Operators (TATO) and the Police Force, shows that there have been several regulatory reforms leading to improved security.

“Besides the regulatory reforms, there has been a significant shift in the mind-set of all participating actors” write Emmanuel Sulle and Wilbard Mkama, the men behind the study that was commissioned by TATO and financed by the BEST-Dialogue.

It is understood that through the Police Force and Auxiliary Services Act, Cap 322 [R.E, 2002] the police force has a central mandate of tourist security.

Thanks to the institutional reform, in 2013/14, the regulation was used to establish the diplomatic and tourism police unit, responsible for the security of tourists and diplomats visiting the country.

The reform also saw the creation of National Tourism Commissioner‘s posts at the Police Headquarter and at regional levels who are credited to play a significant role in ensuring tourist safety and security.

For instance, the Arusha Unit has greatly increased the patrol in and near the northern tourism circuit in its latest efforts to ensure that tourists enjoy maximum security throughout their stay.

Key among these successes includes a shift in the mind-set of all participating actors. For example, in the northern zone, where TATO-led initiatives have been implemented, tourists are now handled separately by special police officers.

In order to facilitate the realization of the project, TATO members contributed financial and in-kind resources to build the Arusha tourism and diplomat’s police station and four police check points along the Kilimanjaro international Airport (KIA) to Ngorongoro Crater highway.

They further contributed cars for highway patrols and installed furniture and Internet services in a bid to make the police station a fully-fledged tourism and diplomatic post.

The numbers of visible and covert police patrols on major highways from airports and hotels to high tourist destinations, such as Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, has increased over time.

“These patrols have greatly reduced car hijacking and highway robbery incidents” the report reads.

The Arusha Police Station has in a short period of time shown significant results in recovering money from pick-pocketing crimes, the report notes.

In 2017, the stations recovered $18,000, whereas in 2018 Arusha stations recovered $26,250. Additionally, in the financial year 2017/18, Arusha tourist police centers managed to file 26 fraud cases, while in 2018/19 only 18 cases were recorded.

“The decreasing number of cases is linked to increased effort from Arusha’s tourist police in tackling and tracking down fraudulent tourist activities” the report reads in part.

The study also categorized the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002 as another powerful tool that has been in place to ensure tourist security.

Indeed, the regulations provides for gathering of security intelligence information to counteract terror threats that might endanger tourist security.

“The Prevention and Combating of Corruption Act (PCCB Act), Cap 329 of 2007 also enhances security for tourists” the report reads in part.

On incidences where tourist or tour operators are asked for bribes for security, the PCCB act has the provision for reporting such cases.

While the Tourism Act of 2008 barely contains tourist safety and security issues, the proposed draft National Tourism Policy of 2018 provides for initiatives for “enhanced security and safety for tourists”.

“These stakeholders’ efforts to boost tourism through improved safety and security, and infrastructure development among other factors have led to an increase in the number of tourists visiting the country,” the report concluded.

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