Sunday, January 11, 2015

TANZANIA,government has said the Kenya’s government act of banning Tanzania vehicles entering Jomo Kenyatta International airport (JKIA) to pick up tourists entering the country is seen as retaliation for its stand of refusing to open the northern Serengeti park border.
 
                        Hon lazaro Nyalandu(left) minister tourism &natural resources Add caption

 

“This act jeopardises the long-term bilateral relationship between the two countries and must be strongly condemned” Tanzania tourism minister Lazaro Nyalandu said.

The minister was speaking in the region yesterday with the tour operators where he said such an act is unwelcomed and needed to be reviewed to allow tourist access to transportation.

He said the move by the Kenyan government has created inconvenience and frustration to hundreds of tour operators and travelers coming to the country through JKIA airport.

“We have made our position not to open up Bologonja border post in north Serengeti National Park to allow in vehicles with tourists from Kenya to enter our park. This action looks like retaliation on the Kenyan side” he said.

Sources points out that the Bolongoja border post between the Serengeti National Park and the Maasai-Mara Game Reserve in Kenya has remained closed since the late 1970s after the breakup of the former EAC.

According to the minister, he will be holding talks regarding the issue with the cabinet secretary for tourism in Kenya to help the country understand better and allow it take the right action.

“Our tour operators are making huge losses because of this untimely and ill decision. This is unacceptable and unjustifiable” he said.

A section of Tanzania media including the Guardian reported earlier this week that Kenya’s Tourism Regulatory Authority (TRA) had banned Tanzania’s tour operators and vehicles from taking visitors to Kenya’s game reserves and parks.

KRA acting Director General Korir Lagat said, during a stakeholders meeting in Kisumu that his country is not going to allow vehicles bearing Tanzanian number plates entry into their parks.

The media said such a move was in response to a similar action by Tanzanian tourism authorities, whom it accused of deliberately locking out Kenyan tour operators from key reserves and park of Serengeti. 

Tanzania government was however quick to act, by forming a task force involving four ministries - East African Cooperation, Tourism and Natural Resources, Transport and Industries and Trade to probe the factors behind Kenya’s move. 

The government earlier this week said  that it had already convened an emergency meeting involving experts to strategies on how to solve the problem and he wrote  a letter to the Chairman of the Non-tariff Barrier Committee in the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) regarding the issue. He assured the country that the problem will soon be settled once the  cause on the transpired  ban comes to light.

Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa) officials was quick to say that their move was in compliance with Tanzania’s regulations providing that such services be conducted within each country’s boundaries.

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