ARUSHA will soon release distinct stickers to denote all tourist vehicles, which deserve special treatment on roads, Regional Commissioner (RC) Mrisho Gambo stated here over the weekend.
“Unlike other precincts, Arusha is a region whose main economic undertaking is tourism and without tourists there is no travel or hospitality industry.
We therefore want foreign visitors to get special, if not VIP treatment to encourage their return here,” Mr Gambo told a stakeholders’ meeting.
The RC said there have been complaints from tour operators, their drivers and tourists themselves over unnecessary delays during their trips to or from national parks due to traffic police who allegedly feign whichever excuse to stop safari vehicles and harass their drivers with ‘questions’ and ‘inspections!’ “Foreign visitors are usually time conscious, some have constrained programmes requiring them to utilise each minute of their stay in Tanzania and most want to rush and catch their planes back home after game drives,” Mr Gambo maintained.
He instructed all the parties in the industry, including Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), Tanzania Tourists Board (TTB) and Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) to meet with the police and promptly address the issue.
“If there is need for inspection, then all tour vehicles must be checked beforehand and issued with special stickers to place on the windscreens for special consideration during the journeys,” directed Mr Gambo.
Over 80 per cent of all the 1.4 million foreign tourists visiting Tanzania head to the Northern tourism circuit, with 90 per cent of the 500 tour companies in the country based in Arusha.
Meanwhile, people from neighbouring country, Kenya, have also complained over cumbersome border procedures at Namanga and myriad of highway roadblocks when they attempt to come to spend holidays in Arusha.
“Arusha is the closest destination from Nairobi for busy workers who want to use short breaks like weekends and Eid Holidays to spend in Tanzania but we experience treatments that discourage us to consider future excursions here,” said Mr John Mungai Kamau who had brought his family for the Eid weekend here.