Enjoy a normal holiday or vacation in Tanzania is now a presidential message and the message the Tanzania Tourism Board made their policy. Warnings and information about COVID-19 vanished from the official travel and tourism portal for Tanzania.
Is Tanzania ready to welcome tourists from all over the world with open arms, or is this an act of deadly desperation to avoid a collapse of the Tanzania economy?
This action triggered Cuthbert Ncube, chairman of the African Tourism Board to call Africa to be careful, raising his concern it will take weeks after tourism starts to understand or feel the impact or return of COVID-19.
eTN Correspondence Apolinary Tairo had sent this report from Tanzania:
Recording a sharp decrease of coronavirus spread in Tanzania, President John Magufuli had said on Sunday that he was looking to encourage foreign tourists, business visitors to fly to Tanzania for normal holidays and business.
The Tanzanian president said that Covid-19 infections in the country has gone down tremendously, and was looking to welcome tourists to visit Tanzania unconditionally. “I have directed the Ministry of Tourism to attract airline companies to fly their tourist and passenger scheduled planes to Tanzania with immediate effect”, Magufuli said.
He said that no foreign visitor will be subjected to 14 days quarantine when landing in Tanzania, but, full protective measures against Covid-19 spread will be observed by tourists scheduled to visit this country.
Covid-19 protective measures now in place in Tanzania are the wearing of a mask, washing hands with flowing water and soap, hand sanitizing and distancing by one meter of a bit more in gatherings, and in public passenger vehicles.
The Tanzanian president said during a Sunday Service at the Lutheran Church of Tanzania that that a number of airlines had made full bookings until August for tourists waiting to travel to Tanzania holidays and wildlife safaris, adding that he had instructed his Ministers to allow the flights to fly into this country.
He further said that foreign visitors landing into Tanzania will not be placed under mandatory quarantine upon arrival but will only undergo temperature tests then be cleared to tour this African safari destination.
During the church service, Magufuli vowed not to place Tanzania on lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus, saying such a move would be disastrous to the economy and the people.
President Magufuli’s stand was made clear after Tanzania’s ministry of Tourism released shocking data on negative effects of Covid-19 on the industry.
Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism minister Hamisi Kigwangalla, said last week that the number of people who will lose jobs from Covid-19 effects represents 76 percent of the total direct employment in tourism.
The number of tourists anticipated to visit Tanzania during that Covid-19 period will decline from the previous 1.9 million tourists recorded by end of last year to 437,000 which is a 76 percent drop this year, said the minister.
Tourism in Tanzania is made up of about 623,000 people employed in services provision at the moment and according to the minister, the Covid-19 could contract it down to 146,000 only, while the sector’s earnings could shrink from US$2.6 to US $598 million by end of this year.
The minister also noted that a rapid assessment on Covid-19 carried in April showed that Tanzania started recording the tourism loss in March. By March 25, some 13 airlines had stopped flying to Tanzania, diminishing hopes of tourists’ arrivals.
The drop in the earnings will hugely affect some conservation institutions under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism,” he told the House in the capital Dodoma when he tabled his ministry’s budget proposals for the 2020/2021 financial year.
He added that as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, direct employment in the tourism sector will go down from 623,000 jobs to 146,000 jobs.
Kigwangalla said he was working closely with various stakeholders in the tourism sector to put in place strategies aimed at saving the sector from further deterioration.
Tanzania is one of Africa’s leading tourism markets, with exotic landscapes of the Serengeti plains and Ngorongoro crater has seen the world of tourism standstill as the entire globe locks down travelers amid curbing Covid-19 spread.
Data from the African Union’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Tanzania has had 509 recorded coronavirus cases and 21 deaths, but president Magufuli said that most of the suspected Covid-19 patients have fully recovered with just a few remaining in hospitals with full hopes to recover.
With a population of about 55 million, Tanzania has left its borders open to its eight neighboring regional states, where most of the exports, imports, and other commodities pass through the Port of Dar es Salaam on the Indian Ocean.