AS Tanzania starts receiving tourists, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has launched national Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), for management of Covid-19 in the business operations in the sector.
The basic targets of the guidelines are to ensure that tourists who enter the country do not bring in the virus, do not contract the virus, service providers remain safe and the tourists leave the country safe after their holiday businesses.
Being one of the key economic sectors in the country, over the few past years the sector’s impressive growth enhanced macroeconomic diversification from the traditional reliance on agriculture, but was heavily affected by the emergence of the Coronavirus and now the government is kick starting the sector.
The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Hamisi Kigwangalla launched the SOPs at Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha, and directed that every tourism entity must appoint a contact person and adequately train a Covid-19 liaison officer who is to be a point of contact with the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children.
“The Covid-19 liaison officer should keep abreast of health protocols and preventive measures and be updated on all designated approved hospitals for Coronavirus testing and treatment, medical clinics and mobile clinics stationed across the country,” reads the guidelines in part.
Every tourism entity should ensure that updated Covid-19 precautionary measures are continuously observed and communicated accordingly with international booking agencies. They have to ensure that staff and tourists are aware and are reminded to adhere to best protective and preventive practices against Covid-19.
All tourism entities have been advised to guarantee that all contact surfaces are cleaned and sanitised with approved disinfectants on regular basis. All staff are to use recommended protective gears when attending to guests and servicing guest areas. All staff have to undergo training regarding the virus and disease.
The SOPs that are in line with the ministry responsible for health and World Health Organisation (WHO), guidelines provide that all entities must provide hand washing and sanitizing facilities such as soap, sanitizers and running water to both guests and staff. The entities, places and vehicles must display emergence short code 199 for free call.
Thermal screening is mandatory for all at entrance points and that guest accommodation facilities must have in place an insurance mechanism for assisting guests to reach the designated hospitals approved by the health ministry or where possible to enable evacuation arrangements.
Dr Kigwangalla was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof Adolph Mkenda, Deputy Minister, Mr Constantine Kanyasu, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Dr Alloyce Nzuki and Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), Conservation Commissioner, Dr Allan Kijazi.
Others were Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), Director General, Ms Devotha Mdachi, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority Public Relations Manager, Joyce Mgaya and other officials from the ministry, boards as well as tour operators.
Other SOPs are that tourism entities are to create a disposal mechanism for masks and other protective gears that comply with recommended national health and safety standards and environmental considerations and that they shall ensure provision of user-friendly environment for persons with disabilities.
The SOPs were prepared by the ministry in collaboration with tour agencies and operators under the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO). Minister Kigwangalla said that Tanzania is safe and ready to receive a huge number of tourists from this month and is well positioned to tap into the growing potential of the high-yield and ever-expanding tourism industry.
“Our strategic location, economic stability and the best of multi-cultural hospitality make the country a top-of-mind destination for business activities. Last year Tanzania received 1,527,230 tourists and generated more than 2.6 billion US dollars that comprise of more than 25 percent of the total export earnings.
The sector supports nearly 1.6 million direct and indirect jobs. We are now ready to be back in business and tourists have started arriving and more bookings are made and major airlines will start jetting in,” unveiled the minister.