The tourism sector in Tanzania is bracing for a 45-day shutdown of hotels and resorts with beginning April 1, The EastAfrican has learnt.
It was understood that Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (Tato) members arrived at the decision during their first virtual meeting recently to contain spread of coronavirus.
The decision comes barely a week after President John Magufuli exhorted Tanzanians to continue with their daily economic activities but be cognisance of the Covid-19.
The tour operators announced a halt in their operations starting April 1 to mid-May, and then await government direction. They also resolved to retain as many staff as possible during the period of closure, which coincides with the low tourism season.
“Human life comes above everything at this time, when solidarity has intensified globally than ever before,” said Sirili Akko, Tato chief executive.
The lobby also asked every Tato member to ensure all employee and their family have health insurance cover.
Tato called on the government to reduce the 18 per cent value added tax on the industry and invest in international advertising of the country as a tourist destination.
Tanzania’s first Covid-19 case was reported in Arusha, the hub of the country’s northern tourism circuit.
Since January 1, about two million passengers have been careened at all 27 entry points countrywide, over 3,000 of them this past Thursday alone.
Over 270 samples of suspected cases of SARs-Cov-2 virus that causes the Covid-19 disease from both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar have been tested at the National Health Laboratory in Dar es Salaam by Thursday.
By Thursday March 26, two positive cases were from Arusha, eight were identified in Dar es Salaam, two in Zanzibar and one in Kagera region.