As global economies gradually ease the lockdown imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the Tanzanian government as expressed its readiness to reopen the tourism sector in the country to international tourist.
This is just the government said it has put in place strict guidelines which must be adhered to by both citizens, the private sector and tourist visiting the country in order to ensure that businesses are carried out in safe, secure and virus free environment.
In a statement signed by Tanzania’s for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr. Hamisi Kigwangalla, he said the government has developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which will guide the country on how to receive and serve tourists from the time they arrive at the airport to the rest of their stay in the country.
He said: “ As you may be aware, COVID-19 disaster has had a huge impact on the worldwide tourism industry. The countries that bring us the most tourists have been severely affected by COVID-19 and have prevented their citizens from traveling abroad, and some have even banned their citizens from leaving their homes without strict conditions. As a result even major airlines have missed passengers and therefore cancelled their flights to many destinations in the world including Tanzania.
“The results of these measures are that we do not currently receiving foreign tourists at all. This is a huge loss for the country’s economy. Tourism companies also suffer huge losses. We have lost many jobs due to this pandemic.
However, there are indications that some countries are beginning to allow their citizens to travel abroad. Several airlines have also planned to resume international flights, some of which will begin international flights by the end of this May 20, 2020.
“In the meeting between the Ministry and the representative of tourism associations held in Arusha, it was agreed on steps that the Government and the Private Sector will take to convince tourists to start coming again to Tanzania.
These steps have two main goals:
“First, and foremost, we will take steps to ensure that tourists entering the country do not bring Corona virus to the country. Airlines will be responsible for making sure that passengers are screened for Corona virus, and those found with the virus will not be allowed to travel. We will only allow tourists to enter the country once we find evidence that those tourists are not infected with COVID-19.
“It is therefore important for Tanzanians to know that our first responsibility is to protect the health of Tanzanians.
Our second goal is to make sure that when tourists enter the country they are safe and not infected with COVID-19. We have developed something called Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) which is a guide on how to receive and serve tourists from the time they arrive at the airport to the rest of their stay in the country and the time they leave Tanzania, the aim is to ensure that they do not become infected with coronavirus.
“The primary purpose of the SOP is to ensure that the entire tourism business chain, from airport, land transport, accommodation, food and tourist destinations, compiles with the guidelines of the Ministry if Health Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MoHCDEC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), to ensure that tourists and all service providers are safe against COVID-19.
“Some of the key issues that have been agreed with the Private sector on how to conduct tourism activities are as follow:
(1) We must get proof that every tourist arriving in the country is not infected with COVID-19
(2) The airport staff will have to be tested for COVID-19 so that only those who are safe will provide service. In addition, all attendants will have to wear facemasks all the time; they will also have to wear gloves and will have to use sanitizers as directed by MoHCDEC. In addition, they must make sure that they observe the social distance of not less than one meter from one another and from guest.
(3) All other staff members on the tourism activities value chain will be regularly monitored to ensure they are not infected with the coronavirus. Only staff that are not infected with coronavirus will be allowed to cater to tourists. However, all staff will have to wear masks and make sure that they stay at least one meter apart between themselves and tourist.
(4) All tourist transport facilities, tourist accommodation and all other facilities used by tourists must be cleaned and sanitized before and after service in an acceptable manner to ensure that they do not become infected with coronavirus.
“These are just some of the features of the SOPs that we have agreed to implement. We will soon be putting the SOPs in public as well as distributing the same to foreign embassies in the country, to our overseas embassies as well as to local and overseas tourism agencies” he said.