Front Page 1Protests as Arusha is named world's 8th ‘worst city'
Did ‘Travel Bible' drive only on Sanawari rugged, filthy road?
By Arusha Times Reporter
It was once described by former US President Bill Clinton as ‘the Geneva of Africa'.
But that view is not shared by travel advisor Lonely Planet, which has just named Arusha as a destination to be avoided in its recently released list of the ‘world's most hated' places.
Officials and residents have reacted angrily to the blacklisting. "This is a deliberate attempt to tarnish the image of our town," stated the Municipal Director, Mr. Raphael Mbunda. He refuted LP's claims that the town was a ‘rusty, dirty place' infested with crime and tourist-hounding hooligans.
"I can't comment about crime but the municipality is improving in terms of planning and even cleanliness," Mr Mbunda maintained, adding that in the next fiscal year (July 2010) the council will embark on a 2 billion/- World Bank-funded program to improve the town structures as well as its roads.
As for crime, the Arusha Regional Police Commander, Mr Basilio Matei, thinks the reports are exaggerated; "We have never had any serious case of tourists or any other visitor being attacked or robbed," he said.
He however had no comment regarding the proposed tourist police department that was suggested by local tour operators two years ago but remains a non-starter project.
"All I know is that tourists are usually advised on dangerous places in town that they should avoid while here," he added. "Of course there are those who get too adventurous and end up in trouble but usually never run into serious problems."
The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, whose headquarters are based here, expressed the view that Arusha's positioning has been driven by ‘dirty campaigns' led by neighbouring tourism competitors.
centers in other countries which in the past played the
roles of connecting ‘cities' to EA tourism attractions such as game parks and beaches," Mr Mustafa Akonaay, the TATO Executive Secretary, stated.
A number of tour operators and hotel owners based here have also expressed their concern regarding the ‘worst city' status. "I am surprised Nairobi is not on the list," said one anonymous operator. "It is so far the dirtiest and most unsafe place in East Africa."
‘Lonely Planet', Australian based travel advisor and publisher of travel books as well as TV documentaries, is depended upon by close to 900,000 international travelers and tourists to an extent of being referred as the ‘Travel Bible'.
The listing states that Arusha holds eighth position in the Lonely Planet's lineup of world's worst cities.
The other cities named in the 2010 top ten are Detroit (US), Accra (Ghana), Seoul (Korea), Los Angeles (US), Wolverhampton (UK), San Salvador (Central America), Chennai (India) and Chetumal (Mexico).
Authorities in most of those cities have already protested such positioning.
To some observers Lonely Planet could have reached the conclusion of Arusha being a rusty, dirty place probably by driving on local government neglected areas such as the Sanawari road which arguably could be one of the worst, urban roads in the world.
Of late the road has become a tourist attraction, a microcosm of inept local governments. The road's potholes and chaotic traffic are monumental. The only time after the colonial era that the road got some sort of repair was about a decade ago when Hillary Clinton then, First Lady of the United States and now Secretary of State, visited an NGO known as Osotwa at the foothills of Mount Meru. She had no option but to persevere a tedious drive on that chaotic road.
Nevertheless, in September 2007, it is reported in a blog, the Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler climbed Kilimanjaro. "Lonely Tony's blog-page contains just a few photos and scraps of text which, in the finest Lonely Planet tradition, are riddled with errors and largely inaccurate. (JUST KIDDING!)". The writer may not have been kidding because cities named recently as "worst" have already protested.
Wolverhampton, England Council bosses led a fightback against the world-famous travel bible's list of the 'nine most hated cities', reports Mail on Line.
They claimed that no one from the Lonely Planet had even been to Wolverhampton before adding it to the list via an online poll.
Malcolm Gwinnett, deputy mayor of Wolverhampton, said: 'The people who have come up with this list obviously don't have a clue what they are talking about.
Crime-hit Detroit, Michigan, topped the poll ahead of Accra, Ghana, which was described as 'ugly, chaotic and sprawling'.
LONELY PLANET'S NINE MOST HATED CITIES ARE....
- <LI style="LINE-HEIGHT: normal; COLOR: black" class=MsoNormal> Detroit, Michigan <LI style="LINE-HEIGHT: normal; COLOR: black" class=MsoNormal> Accra, Ghana <LI style="LINE-HEIGHT: normal; COLOR: black" class=MsoNormal> Seoul, South Korea <LI style="LINE-HEIGHT: normal; COLOR: black" class=MsoNormal> Los Angeles, USA <LI style="LINE-HEIGHT: normal; COLOR: black" class=MsoNormal> Wolverhampton, England <LI style="LINE-HEIGHT: normal; COLOR: black" class=MsoNormal> San Salvador, El Salvador <LI style="LINE-HEIGHT: normal; COLOR: black" class=MsoNormal> Chennai, India <LI style="LINE-HEIGHT: normal; COLOR: black" class=MsoNormal> Arusha, Tanzania
- Chetumal, Mexico