TANZANIA (eTN) – Reacting to a recent bomb blast in Tanzania’s northern tourist city of Arusha, the Head of the European Union Delegation to East Africa warned over escalating terror acts and insecurity in this country which could jeopardize tourism.
Mr. Filiberto Sebregondi, Head of the EU on duty of tour to East Africa, was quoted by a leading Tanzanian media source saying violence and failure by Tanzanian security authorities to take tangible action against perpetrators could jeopardize the country’s high standing among members of the international community.
“Bomb attacks which occurred in Arusha on May 5 and on June 15 are very worrisome developments for a traditionally stable, tolerant, and peaceful country such as Tanzania; this is a serious setback,” said Mr. Sebregondi.
He said Arusha and Zanzibar were mostly affected by the growing violence and religious intolerance with a capacity to tarnish the image of Tanzania as a peaceful country and a touristic destination with very negative consequences in the future.
The European Union is the leading market source for tourists visiting Tanzania each year. European top tourist markets are the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, Austria, Benelux, and the Scandinavian states.
Arusha and Zanzibar are tourist towns pulling big crowds of wildlife photographic safari and holidaymakers across the world.
But the Chief Executive Officer of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, Mr. Sirili Akko, said many tourist companies operating in Tanzania are thinking differently after the recent bomb blast which rocked the tourist capital in northern Tanzania.
He said it was unfortunate the incident happened at the beginning of the tourist high season amid fears of negative information on Arusha or Tanzania which can hurt tourism, the leading sector in foreign exchange earnings.
Some tourist companies in northern Tanzania and the capital city of Dar es Salaam, the leading cities in tourism, have complained of negative response from their traditional markets of Europe, America, and South Africa.
The June 15 bomb blast in Arusha had attracted political rivalries between the Communist-manifestoed Chama Cha Mapinduzi party and the main opposition Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo Party (Party for Democracy and Development), each blaming the other for taking responsibility in the blast.
So far, no one has been prosecuted for the blast which rocked a political rally that was organized by the opposition Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo party, killing 4 people, including children,n while 70 others were injured.