Tourism Confederation of Tanzania (TCT), EXECUTIVE SECRETARY Richard Rugimbana.
Tourism Confederation of Tanzania (TCT), a Tourism Private Sector Apex body, appeals to the Government to reconsider its decision to suspend indefinitely the two month old Anti – Poaching Campaign – Operation Terminate (Operation Tokomeza) on grounds of human rights abuse and violation – torture, seizure of property, killing of suspects etc and wishes to beseech Government to continue with the operation..
It is the position of TCT that the suspension of the Operation will only aggravate the situation by giving the poachers and their godfathers more time to reorganize and plan for some new strategies that may have devastating effects on the remaining elephant herds in the wilderness.
Tanzania’s tourism strength emanates from its staggering range of wildlife, excellent species diversity, and evocative acacia and baobab studded landscapes which makes the country one of the greatest safari destination. The Netherlands based “safaribookings.com’s” research (2013) has concluded that Tanzania is the best Safari Destination in Africa.
In terms of natural resources, the annual World Economic Forum Competitiveness Study for Travel and Tourism (2011) rated Tanzania second position in the World after Brazil. Tanzania is also regarded as the last frontier of the worlds’ largest parks allowing free grazing of wildlife.
Allowing the continued systematic slaughter of our wildlife through poaching, elephants in particular, will completely undermine the competitive advantage that Tanzania has on World Tourism stage. TCT therefore strongly urges Government to reconsider its decision to halt this anti poaching campaign.
Already, this campaign is recording tremendous success. In the last two months alone, it was able to recover thousands of elephant tusks (ivory), arrested over 1400 poachers, along with hundreds of illegal firearms including muzzle loaders and 1400 rounds of ammunitions. This is a very positive move which both the Government and People are proud of.
TCT is definitely cognizant of the abuses that have happened in the course of administering this campaign and in no way supports this whatsoever. TCT therefore commends Government for forming a Probe Team to look into this serious matter
Our recommendation however is that, in the interest of tourism, we urge Government to continue with the Anti – Poaching operation and at the same time also in the interest of Good Governance and upholding Human Rights principles, Government continues with the Probe Team. Both issues can be handled and addressed simultaneously.
TCT is an umbrella organization representing tourism private business sector involved in travel and tourism. The organizations represented include; Tanzania Association of Travel Agents (TASOTA), Tanzania Air Operators Association (TAOA) Hotels Association of Tanzania (HAT) Intra-African Travel and Tourism Association (ITTA); Tanzania Hunting Operators Association (TAHOA); Tanzania Professional Hunters Association (TPHA; Tanzania Tour Guides Association, (TTGA) Zanzibar Association of Tourism Investors (ZATI); Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO); and Tourism & Hospitality Professionals Association of Tanzania (THPAT).