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How Safe Are Our Hotels?

Who'd have guessed that one tweet could single-handedly degrade one of the best-rated hotels in Zanzibar, Tanzania, in just 24 hours? One Warere hotel in Zanzibar met with this fate. For those of you who don’t use Twitter, there was a public outcry in reaction to a Tweet by Zainab, a Nigerian national who mustered the fortitude to share a traumatic experience she had in a Tanzanian hotel with the rest of the world.

Zainab tweeted about her stay at the Werewere Hotel in Tanzania, which is one of the best-rated hotels in the country. She claimed she was sexually harassed in the privacy of her hotel room, where she had gone to celebrate her birthday. Despite this, the hotel and the police did little to nothing to handle the case, much to the dismay of everyone else.

What happened to Zainab is exactly what every girl or woman dread when she spends the night alone, whether at home or away from home. Most girls I know of are always afraid of what might happen to them when they travel away from home and have to spend the night in a hotel or lodge. Because one might not know if it could be the guard, the manager or another guest in the hotel who might assault them. As woman it is tiresome to navigate a world where most males believe they have a right to women's bodies. Women and girls at Flea markets get harassed by vendors all the time while everyone looks on, now if someone can do that in day broad day light, what else can they do in darkness and when no one is watching?

The protection of guests, particularly women, is something that most hotels should take seriously. The exposing of the Wererwere hotel should serve as a warning to other service providers in the country and around the world that mistreatment of women is no longer tolerated anyplace else, and that women will continue to speak up when they are harassed or threatened.

Hopefully, this will create a precedent for most hotels and other service providers, indicating that women's safety should be a major priority. Hotels and other service providers must be aware that potential guests may abandon them if they feel unsafe or have doubts about their safety. May also this be a wake up call to Malawian hotels and other lodging areas to evaluate and improve on their safety and security.

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