Bulletpoints:

  •       Population to be vaccinated: 60,703,620
  •       What vaccines: None, no plan of import
  •       % of population already vaccinated: 0%
  •       Inbound travelers Covid-19 vaccination proof: not yet.
  •       Inbound travelers quarantine: No, negative PCR test
  •       Quarantine accommodation: 14-day when tested positive

Quarantine at designated government facilities.

 

Introduction

The coronavirus has had a mild toll on Tanzania’s economy, infecting about 509 persons with 21 deaths, 183 recovery, and 305 active cases recorded as of May 14, 2020. These figures were confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be the second-highest in the East Africa Community (EAC) after Kenya. However, the country has stopped reporting cases since April 29. This has drawn a lot of criticism as many believed that the actual number of cases is far greater.

Since recording the first case of Covid-19 on March 16 and seeing cases increasing daily, the Tanzanian government has to close down schools for three months. The closure and other restrictions due to the pandemic have badly affected citizens and travelers. On May 13, the U.S embassy in Tanzania warned that most hospitals in the town had been overwhelmed.

How has covid-19 affected the Tanzanian Tourism and Travel industry?

As with many Tourist nations, Tourism is among the pillars of Tanzanian’s economy. It accounts for about 17.2% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 25% of all foreign exchange revenues. According to the country’s government statistics, the travel and tourism industry spawned roughly 2.4 billion dollars and provided direct employment for over 600,000 people. But since the outbreak of the raging covid-19 in mid-March 2020, the country’s tourism and travel industry have suffered a colossal loss due to travel restrictions enforced by governments globally to curb the spread of the virus.

The Tanzania minister of tourism & natural resources, Hamisi Kigwanlla, stated in June 2020 that tourists’ visits to the country had sharply dropped by 76%, i.e., approximately 437,000 from 1.9 million in 2019. With the decrease in the number of tourists to the country, employment in the industry has dropped from 600,000 to 140,000. One of the nation’s most popular tourist sites, Kilimanjaro, was not spelled as the government had to put all activities to a sudden halt. A tourist guide, Ester Meena, lamented that Mount Kilimanjaro, before the outbreak of the virus in March, used to host hundreds of tourists from across the world.  

Other parts of the country like Zanzibar also suffered many economic setbacks due to the dreaded coronavirus’s impact. Even though the region’s economy depends greatly on tourism, the government still had to close down several businesses, including restaurants, hotels, etc., both on the mainland and island to control the spread of the virus. In Dar es Salam, the famous White Sands Hotel of the Indian Ocean beaches was also closed. The closure of these places affected the employees of these establishments and others doing business within and outside the organizations.

Reacting to the development, Zanzibar Minister for Labor and Empowerment to the Tanzanian government, Maudlin Castico, revealed that no fewer than 5,000 Zanzibar employees in the tourism industry, including hospitality, had lost their jobs as a result of the cancelation of flights and shutdown of tourist hotels.

Tanzanian Vaccination Program

A report has it that Tanzanian may not accept any coronavirus vaccine but would rather stick to local herbs to protect themselves against the deadly virus. Commenting on the government’s decision, spokesperson to the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, Gerald Chamii said that, there might be no intentions to import covid-19 vaccines. And that the Tanzanian scientists and health experts are still researching and conducting clinical trials for the country’s local herb for covid-19. He argued that one cannot get a vaccine or cure to any disease in less than six months, that it will be unwise to go for a vaccine without a clinical trial to approve or show if it is safe for use.

Another report in January 2021 suggests that Tanzania is among the countries that have accepted the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine. The acceptance will now see the country vaccinate its citizens against the coronavirus with the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine. While vaccination is a good way to fight the pandemic, the Tanzania government still mandates citizens and visitors to use a facemask and observe other guidelines such as social distancing, washing hands, etc.

Do you need Proof of Vaccination to travel to Tanzania?

After shutting down tourism activities and restricting incoming travelers on March 20 following the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Tanzanian authorities announced the reopening of tourism activities on June 6. Since then, there are no restrictions enforced by the government concerning entering and leaving the country.

However, visitors or travelers from other countries are expected to provide proof of coronavirus vaccination (digital immunization certificate or card) upon arrival. Those without proof of vaccination or document must provide a test result taken not more than 72 hours before departure or be subjected to a 14 days quarantine. In a statement, the Tanzanian Ministry of Health says incoming travelers will not be denied access to the country but will be subjected to a screening exercise at the point of entry. Also, people visiting Kilimanjaro will have to observe the new standard operating procedure.

With the introduction of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) travel pass, passengers can now create a “digital passport” to confirm their vaccination or pre-travel test meets their destination requirement. They can also share their vaccination certificates and test results with airlines and other authorities to facilitate travel via the IATA mobile app. Commenting on the development, Senior Vice President of the IATA, Nike Careen, said the innovation would also help airlines verify the validity of vaccination certificates or test results regarding passengers’ destination requirements.

Kilimanjaro’s standard operating procedure amidst covid-19

Following the reopening of tourism activities in the country, the Tanzanian government, through the Ministry of Natural Resources & Tourism, has released a new standard operating procedure to manage the threat and risk of infections on the mount as they try to revive the economy.

The guideline has mandated the Mount Kilimanjaro staff to be more precautious in carrying out their transporting duties, packing, and preparing equipment and food for climbers. That all staff must put on personal protective wear, including facemask when interacting with guests. Also, the number of staff interacting with guests and the frequency of interaction will reduce. Tourists and guests are to expect the following:

  •       Temperature check upon arrival at the hotel and park gate. People showing symptoms or signs of the virus will be led to a medical team that will carry out further consultations.
  •       Every mountain crew member will wear a mask while on transit, at the park gate, and the camp. During interaction with guests, hotel staff is also expected to wear a mask.
  •       Crew members and hotel staff must maintain a social distance of at least one meter (three feet) except for an emergency.
  •       Guests are to provide themselves with a personal sanitizer and ensure to use them at all times.

Conclusion

While the Tanzania government strongly believes that its approach and measures to fight the deadly virus and leave the economy open would ensure firm growth in 2021, this might only happen if they stand their ground on entry and vaccination requirements.