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Tourist facilities to undergo Covid-19 certification

Tourist facilities to undergo Covid-19 certification

ALL hotels and tourist facilities in the country will from now onwards bear Covid-19 certifications, a move that seeks to protect visiting tourists from contracting and spreading the deadly viral disease.

Such certifications will be placed at the entrances of the facilities with the government eager to descend on those found flouting the regulations.

This features among the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), proposed by tourism stakeholders who converged here for a two-day brainstorming session on how to cushion the 2tri/-a year sector against the effects of the novel Coronavirus.

Among the raft of issues, the stakeholders also agreed that every tourism entity must appoint and adequately train a Covid-19 Liaison Officer who will be the point of contact with the Health Ministry.

“The Liaison Officer should keep abreast of health protocols and preventive measures,” read part of the SOPs seen by the ‘Daily News’ yesterday.

The stakeholders also proposed that all tourism operators who are required to interact with their guests, to protect themselves by having sanitisers and gloves available at their workplaces such as vehicles, stalls and vessels.

According to the SOPs, all arriving flights are required to have an Advance Passenger Information System (APIS), compliant so as to allow the Tanzania’s Immigration Department and Airport Authorities to receive and interrogate the flight manifest for possible high-risk passengers.

The players agreed that non-APIS compliant flights be notified that their passengers will be either subjected to the Health Ministry’s screening or have their service denied entry into the country.

“Any passenger aboard the flight who has travelled to and from any of the listed high-risk countries or regions may be subjected to tests by the Ministry of Health Officials.”

According to Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Dr Hamisi Kigwangalla, who also chaired the two-day brainstorming meeting, the SOPs will be tabled within different levels of the government so that they can be adopted as measures to protect the lucrative industry and businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We came up with these measures because as a country, we aren’t sure as to when the world will become safe again….but what we can do is to gather our strengths and resources and reopen the sector while taking great caution to protect ourselves and tourists that we so highly value,” alluded the Minister.

Meanwhile, Dr Kigwangalla has tasked his ministry to establish a Tourism Covid-19 Response Team which would among other things, deal with cross cutting issues such as creating a communication strategy, to explain to the world safety measures taken by the country towards promotion of destination Tanzania.

The team will also conduct a review of business bylaws within the sector to include insurance policies that will enable a tourist to be evacuated in case of a health emergency.

Dr Kigwangalla also directed his ministry to conduct frequent training to personnel working in the tourism and hospitality sectors on how to receive and cater for tourists during the pandemic.

“We must ensure that all necessary precautions are being taken to protect both our staff and tourists as well,” the minister observed.

Tourism remains vital to the country’s economic growth.

But moving his ministry’s budget for the next fiscal year 2020/2021,  Dr Kigwangalla noted the sector is projected to face its worst fiscal crisis in history because of the coronavirus pandemic, characterised by massive job losses and an estimated 2.1trn/-decrease in revenue collections.

The ministry warned that nearly 500,000 people will be rendered jobless if the situation does not normalise by October 2020, with revenue collections shrinking to 598m/-from 2.6trn/-.

Dr Kigwangalla explained that the novel virus had seriously affected the industry and is anticipated to reduce direct employment from 623,000 to 146,000.  He added that the number of tourists is likely to drop from 1,867,000 to 437,000 arrivals.

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