Is Tanzania a safe country to visit?

Tanzania is the largest East African nation, and considered the most peaceful country in the region. However, you may have concerns about traveling to Tanzania, especially because of the recent world-wide health concerns. Some websites also say that traveling to Tanzania might be dangerous due to the threat of violence and terrorism. You may be asking; are these concerns valid? What is it really like in Tanzania? Is Tanzania a safe country to visit?

Currently, there has been an increase in worries around traveling anywhere because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, before, during and even after COVID-19 all travelers travel at their own risk. We encourage travelers to exercise reasonable caution and common sense, but to not be afraid to experience a new destination and embrace the wonders of Tanzania.

We would like to specifically address the following concerns: crime, and the claim of risks to LGBTQ persons.

Why should I trust you?
It is a good question to ask why you may rely on our travel advice. The answer is simple: we have been living in the Kilimanjaro region since 2012, and we know everything and everyone around here. It is one of the reasons why the leading travel agencies consistently choose Altezza to lead their expeditions.

Alleged dangers of visiting Tanzania

Several travel advisories cite “crime, terrorism and targeting of LGTBQ persons” as reasons to avoid travel to Tanzania. With the exception of certain isolated cases, we can certainly say that it is an exaggeration, and does not accurately reflect the main tourist hubs in Tanzania.

Crime

Like all vacation destinations, there is petty crime in Tanzania. However, we wouldn’t say it is more common than, for example, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, Egypt, or Kenya. But, we would say it is probably less common than in places such as Paris, France, Venice, Italy or Barcelona, Spain, which have earned a reputation for expert pick-pockets or passport thieves around the most well-known tourist attractions.

Exercising reasonable travel caution is recommended. We encourage all travelers to pay attention to the following:

Pickpockets often work in crowded places such as markets and public transportation hubs. While visiting such places, it is highly recommended to leave cash and other valuables at the hotel. If you need a bit of cash for such excursions, keep your money in a small, hidden pouch, your front pocket, or in a purse that is held at the front of your body. Avoid putting your wallet in your back pocket, or keeping your purse at your side, or back of your body.

We encourage visitors to exercise caution when visiting beaches, especially in Dar es Salaam; do not leave your items unattended on the beach, and avoid contact with local “beach boys”, who are mostly overly-friendly young men trying to start up conversations or selling cheap souvenirs (as a scam to see where you keep your wallet).

Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam (among other large cities), sometimes has occurrences of robberies. Nearly all instances are of the “snatch and run” technique – an attacker simply grabs a bag and tries to get lost among the busy city crowd.

Thus, do not carry your valuables in a bag; better lock them in a hotel safe. And of course, do not leave your luggage unattended. At night, we recommend travelers take a hotel taxi instead of walking, or only using official white-and-green taxis, never private cars.

All of Altezza’s guests are accompanied by a driver or guide who is familiar with the areas, and helps to prevent and protect against all types of misadventures. If a guest specifically requests to visit an area or tour a city without a guide or driver, it can be allowed, but at the individual’s own risk.

Violent crime

In spite of lots of misleading articles available on the Internet (some of them, sadly, published by reputable sources), violent crime against tourists is something extraordinarily rare in the northern part of Tanzania, including the popular tourist cities of Arusha and Moshi.

In nearly a decade of our time operating in Tanzania, we have heard of only a few isolated incidents of armed robberies – all of which have occurred in coastal areas of Eastern Tanzania, and not in Northern Tanzania.

Another one-off offense we have heard of are individuals being accosted as they withdrew money from an ATM at night in Dar es Salaam. To our knowledge, these people were not injured, although they did have money stolen from them. We do not recommend going to ATMs after dark, and suggest visitors attend ATMs which are guarded by a security guard (which is common for nearly all banks and ATMs in Arusha and Moshi).

It is also important to mention that the overwhelming majority of Tanzanians are people of kindness and peace who welcome foreigners with respect and care. Violence, as a means of addressing conflict, is largely unheard of in the general Tanzanian population. Further, the tourism industry plays a major role in the economy of Northern Tanzania, especially in the towns of Arusha and Moshi.Therefore, many individuals appreciate and welcome travelers and want to reinforce a positive image of the nation, even so far as to go out of their way to accomodate a lost traveler or foreigner having a difficult time communicating.

All things considered, the chance of a traveler being the victim of a robbery or mugging in Tanzania is not any more than in popular travel locations in the United States or Europe. To prevent such incidents, it is advised to exercise common sense, avoid unsavoury areas, take taxis at night instead of walking, attend banks and ATMs during daylight hours, don’t carry large amounts of cash, and keep your personal items with you at all times.

Terrorism

Categorizing Tanzania as a country with a threat of terrorism is certainly disputable. The latest act of terrorism in Tanzania was in 1998, well over 20 years ago.

More recently, there was an attack on a small Tanzanian village in the southernmost part of the country, along the border with Mozambique. Reports suggest the extremists hail from Mozambique and have a history of violence and attacks throughout Mozambique, and question the safety and security of this neighboring nation than of Tanzania. The Tanzanian military is working in conjunction with the Mozambique Army to capture and bring these assailants to justice.

Beyond these rare attacks, Tanzania is not only a generally safe and peaceful nation, but takes in refugees from neighboring countries, as UNICEF considers Tanzania a safe haven. Refugee camps near Kigoma continue to care for those fleeing violence from neighboring nations. This is one of the reasons why, out of all East African destinations, Tanzania has quickly grown into the most popular destination for safari goers.

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Targeting of the LGBT persons

The accusation that Tanzania is a country where LGBTQ persons may be targeted is certainly innaccurate. To begin with, polific LGBTQ couples visited and publicly shared their safaris in Tanzania, such as Ellen Degeneres and her partner, Portia de Rossi who spent time in Serengeti National Park in 2018.

Perhaps this is a poor misrepresentation of Tanzania’s conservative society.

Generally, intimacy and love is a very private thing in Tanzanian culture, and public displays of affection are not common with Tanzanian couples. Openly displaying affection is frowned upon throughout Tanzania – for both heterosexual and diverse relationships – and isn’t intended to be discriminatory, only that it is out-of-place in this conservative society.

With this understanding, we can confidently say that in the time we have resided in Tanzania, we have not ever once seen a single case of a tourist being ill-treated based on their sexual orientation.

We can assure you that as long as common decency norms are followed, no one will be troubled because of the partner someone prefers to be with.

So, is Tanzania a safe country to visit?

Yes, it is. Ask Altezza travelers who have experienced Kilimanjaro, safari parks and all other wonderful places throughout Tanzania in recent months.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask our dedicated Travel Consultants.

We are passionate about Tanzania, and believe that this is not only a safe nation to visit – but one of the most beautiful, natural and interesting destinations in the world! Don’t allow inaccurate information persuade you from the adventure of a lifetime in East Africa.

Contact our team! We have been to all of the top destinations in this land. Our Kilimanjaro-based adventure consultants will gladly share our travel tips and help you plan the trip.

Is Tanzania a Safe Country to Visit?

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the closure of many popular travel destinations: Kenya, Bali, Thailand and other popular places which are usually packed with tourists are now nearly empty. But, one East African сountry, Tanzania, decided not to close its borders. It is one of the few places currently accepting international travelers. Most of the major international airlines operate flights to the land of the Serengeti and Mount Kilimanjaro, just as they previously offered. And while international flights may request COVID-19 certificates for travel, the Tanzanian officials do not require such documents for arrival.

Hence, many people are wondering if Tanzania is safe to visit – especially in the light of the fact that many European countries and the United States recently added Tanzania to their ‘red lists’, warning against international travel. This article answers the question – is Tanzania a safe country to visit?

Tanzania hasn’t published COVID-19 figures since April, 2022

Officially, there are only 509 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country. However, these figures have not been updated in April 2022, when Tanzania stopped reporting official figures. Despite numerous alerts from the WHO and the global community, the nation did not publish data about confirmed infections in the country. The now-late president John Magufuli announced the country to be “Covid-free” and said that Tanzania would not be vaccinating its population, relying on the traditional herbal medicines and steaming instead.

Unsurprisingly, many countries responded with fierce criticism. The United States Department of State categorized Tanzania as’ ‘Level 4 Travel Alert” (Avoid travel”), and the UK added it to it’s Red List. Russia, however, showed a very different stance – Tanzania was one of the five countries (along with the UK and Turkey), where the Russian citizens could travel.Russian tour operators immediately organized a sizable number of charter flights between the Russian cities and the resort island of Zanzibar.

Not only have Russians decided to travel, but between November 2022 and March, 2022 over 30,000 tourists from the European Union countries landed in Zanzibar. This puts future travellers in a bit of a quandary – while the healthcare offices and travel advisories are boiling with criticism, travellers are taking safari and posting remarkably bright photos from the sunny beaches of Zanzibar, the beautiful Serengeti plains or the peak of Kilimanjaro. You can visit this site for more information about safari adventures.

So, is Tanzania safe for travel?

Tanzania tour operators response to COVID-19

The tour operators of Tanzania understood the seriousness of the ongoing situation and took responsible action. As travel decisions were greatly affected by the pandemic, many operators worked hard to instill confidence in visitors. Therefore, the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources published the Standard Operating Protocol for COVID-19 in the tourism industry.

This protocol outlined the safety rules and precautionary measures that all tour operators are bound to follow to ensure that visitors are protected from the COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, including health protocols and cleaning measures. Some companies took further steps, putting in place the best practices recommended by WHO and the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Among other measures, these practices include:

  1. Regular COVID-19 testing of guiding staff and other personnel who are in frequent contact with visitors;
  2. Hand sanitizing stations and regular cleaning of premises and facilities;
  3. Reducing the number of people in travel groups;
  4. Ensuring physical distancing between members of a guiding crew and visitors.

Between December 2022 and March 2022 Tanzania became an especially popular place for international visitors. Because many other famous climbing destinations remain closed, Mount Kilimanjaro attracted a much higher number of visitors than tour operators expected. Those planning to climb Aconcagua, Mount Kostyushko or Denali (Mount McKinley) had their plans aborted, and the fact that Kilimanjaro was open happened to be too strong an urge to resist.

Many others decided to seize an opportunity and visit Serengeti, Ngorongoro and other iconic national parks in Tanzania. These UNESCO heritage sites are normally packed with travellers, but due to the ongoing pandemic, we are experiencing one of these few opportunities to visit these parks with the lowest numbers of visitors seen in decades. It was possible to be nearly alone amidst the picturesque places of Serengeti with your safari group.

All in all, thousands of visitors have come to Tanzania in 2022 and early 2022, and, to the best of our knowledge, only a few isolated cases of COVID-19 contraction were reported when these people returned home. And it is not entirely clear whether the infection took place in Tanzania or while en route to the home country, such as while traveling on an international flight.

Why is the risk of getting infected in Tanzania low?

Popular travel attractions in Tanzania have never been crowded. Thus, on a safari journey in the national parks, most of the time is spent in a private safari vehicle, with no other people except your safari group. On a Mount Kilimanjaro expedition everyone has his or her own tent, and it is quite easy to keep physical distancing.

Hotels in Tanzania are half-empty these days, and, therefore, physical contacts between visitors are easily reduced to a minimum. Property managers understand the pandemic risks, and for this reason the hotels are regularly sanitized and ventilated.

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Is it possible to get a valid PCR test in Tanzania?

Most international airlines require a PCR test for onboarding upon return from Tanzania. It is easy to do one in Tanzania – there are many approved clinics both on the mainland and in Zanzibar. Whether you plan to stay in Moshi, Arusha on Stonetown, taking a swab and getting results is not more complicated than in your home country.

It is even possible to get tested at a special healthcare point in the Serengeti. The tour operators have done everything they could to make sure that your trip to Tanzania is not interrupted in any way.

So, is it safe to visit Tanzania?

We cannot say that any nation is 100% safe to visit, but we are confident that visiting Tanzania is less dangerous than many of the European countries or the United States with crowded cities and difficulties to practice social distancing. A visit to Tanzania means time in fresh air and nature, secluded with your private travel group, with social distancing being an easy adaptation to a traditional Tanzanian safari or mountain trek. If you are dreaming of traveling, consider this small East African nation as your next destination.

Is Tanzania Safe to Visit in 2022? | Safety Concerns

Is Tanzania Safe to Visit in 2022? | Safety Concerns

Tanzania is one of East Africa’s most culturally diverse and fascinating countries. The country has something to offer everyone, from its sandy beaches and turquoise waters to its lush green mountains and sprawling plains.

And, of course, Tanzania is home to some of the world’s most iconic wildlife, including lions, elephants, and giraffes. While safety should be a concern when traveling to any new country, Tanzania is generally considered a safe destination.

Nonetheless, there are always risks associated with travel, but most visitors to Tanzania experience no problems whatsoever.

Of course, you’ll still want to exercise caution and common sense when traveling to any new place. Furthermore, certain areas are best avoided, so we advise traveling with a reputable tour operator who knows which areas are unsafe.

But, if you take the time to plan, research, and take sensible precautions, Tanzania is likely to be the safest African country you will ever visit.

If you’re considering adding Tanzania to your itinerary, check out our in-depth guide to help you plan the perfect trip. We cover everything from the top safety concerns, neighborhoods to avoid, and what to consider before departing.

Is Tanzania Safe to Visit?

Drone shot of Masai Village in Tanzania

The 2022 Global Peace Index ranks Tanzania as the 7th most peaceful country in Africa and the 86th most peaceful country in the world. While no destination is entirely risk-free, this ranking shows that Tanzania is a relatively safe place to visit.

That being said, there are still safety concerns that potential visitors should be aware of. One of the biggest dangers in Tanzania is the prevalence of diseases like malaria, cholera, and HIV/AIDS.

Petty crimes, such as pickpocketing, mugging, and drive-by bag snatchings, are common in Tanzania. At the same time, violent crimes like armed robbery and sexual assault are on the rise in some regions such as Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam.

Additionally, political instability and unrest are other potential concerns, particularly near the borders of Mozambique, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On June 21, 2022, the U.S. issued a travel advisory for Tanzania, warning citizens to “exercise increased caution” when visiting the country. The advisory explicitly cites crime and terrorism as Tanzania’s two biggest safety concerns.

Crime in Tanzania

Street crime in Tanzania, such as pickpocketing and mugging, is widespread. Bag snatchings from cars or motorcycles are the most common occurrence, sometimes even turning deadly when victims resist or get dragged behind the vehicle.

So if you ever find yourself in this situation, it’s best to just let go of your belongings. Violent crimes like armed robbery are another concern in Tanzania, with areas such as Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam seeing exceptionally high crime rates.

And unfortunately, Tanzanian police are often ineffective in responding to these crimes, which have led to accusations that they’re among the most corrupt in East Africa.

In addition, sexual violence is also a prevalent concern in Tanzania, particularly in tourist areas like Zanzibar. In most cases, the victims are citizens of Tanzania; however, there have also been reports of attacks on travelers.

As a result, we advised travelers, especially women, to never accept food, drinks, or rides from strangers and to try to travel in groups when possible.

Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods in Tanzania

When traveling to Tanzania, one must be aware of the areas prone to crime. Some of the most dangerous regions in Tanzania include:

  • Zanzibar – the presence of tourists on the island draws in pickpockets and muggers. Just keep your eyes open, and your personal belongings close.
  • Dar es Salaam – the capital city has a high crime rate, meaning vigilance and common sense are necessary.
  • Arusha – as with Zanzibar, this city is a popular tourist spot because of its proximity to Mt. Kilimanjaro and Serengeti National Park, so thieves and scammers are prevalent.

The border regions with Mozambique, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo due to violent conflict.

When you find yourself in any of these areas, take extra care to keep yourself safe. This includes avoiding isolated areas along the beaches, walking the streets at night, and not carrying large amounts of cash or valuables.

Avoiding Crime in Tanzania

Aerial view of Pamunda Island for a piece titled is tanzania safe

Moiz Husein Storyteller/Shutterstock

While Tanzania is a relatively safe country to visit, there are still some risks that potential visitors should know about. Taking some basic precautions can help ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip to Tanzania.

The best way to stay safe in Tanzania is to:

  • Avoid isolated areas and walking alone at night
  • Keep your personal belongings next to you at all times
  • Don’t accept rides from strangers or unlicensed taxis
  • Don’t flash large amounts of cash or valuables in public
  • Avoid political demonstrations and protests

In addition to following these safety tips, it’s also a good idea to consider purchasing travel insurance before your trip. Travel insurance will cover you in an emergency, such as lost luggage, canceled flights, or medical evacuation.

Political Instability and Unrest in Tanzania

While Tanzania is generally peaceful, some regions are prone to political instability and unrest. The border regions of Mozambique, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are volatile due to rebel groups and militias.

These groups have been known to cross into Tanzania and carry out attacks, so be aware of the situation if you travel to these areas. The island of Zanzibar is also a hotbed of political unrest thanks to the ongoing conflict between the Zanzibari government and opposition parties.

There have been several protests and riots in recent years, so it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the political situation before traveling to Zanzibar.

Health Concerns in Tanzania

Unfortunately, many diseases are prevalent in Tanzania, including malaria, cholera, and HIV/AIDS. Consult a medical professional before your trip and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself, such as getting recommended vaccinations and taking the proper medication.

Malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, poses a significant health risk in Tanzania, with 93% of the population living in transmission areas.

The most surefire way to protect yourself from contracting malaria is to take anti-malarial medication and take any steps to prevent mosquito bites. Cholera is another disease found in Tanzania, particularly in densely populated areas lacking effective sanitation practices.

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Cholera can be spread through water and food contaminated with the bacterium called Vibrio cholerae, so always pay close attention to anything you eat and drink while in Tanzania.

Lastly, HIV/AIDS is also a major concern in Tanzania. According to USAID , an estimated 5% of the adult population is infected with HIV/AIDS. In addition, this virus disproportionately affects Tanzanian women and girls, with women making up 80% of new infections.

Things to Consider When Visiting Tanzania

to help answer the question Is Tanzania Safe, a woman sitting on the hood of an SUV pictured in front of zebras

So, have you decided you’re going to visit Tanzania? Congratulations! Get ready to undertake an incredible journey to one of the world’s most beautiful and varied countries. Here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind as you plan your trip.

Visas Are Required

If planning a trip to Tanzania, get your visa in order before you go. While many countries offer visa-free travel to Tanzania, this doesn’t mean that you won’t need a visa to enter the country. Instead, you’ll likely need to apply for a tourist visa in advance.

The process is relatively simple, but it can take a few weeks to get your visa approved. Once you have your visa, keep it safe! If you’re found without a valid visa, you may be detained, subject to fines, or even deported.

Get Vaccinated

Before you visit Tanzania, make sure you’re up-to-date on your vaccinations. A few diseases common in the region, such as cholera and typhoid, can be prevented with vaccines and medication.

The CDC provides a list of required and recommended vaccinations for Tanzania, so check it before traveling. By getting vaccinated, you’ll protect yourself from getting sick while you’re in Tanzania and help prevent the spread of disease in the region.

Pay Attention to the Weather

Tanzania is in the tropics, which means it experiences wet and dry seasons. The wet season runs from March to May and again from November to January, while the dry season runs from June to October.

During the wet season, rainfall is heavy and persistent, making road conditions poor and increasing the risk of flooding.

The dry season is a better time to visit, as the weather is more stable and there is less chance of flooding. However, we recommend being aware of the forecast even during the dry season.

Pack The Right Clothing

Tanzania is a country full of contrasts. You’ll find everything from snow-capped mountains to white, sandy beaches, and the weather can vary dramatically from one region to the next. That’s why you need to pack suitable clothing when visiting Tanzania.

If you’re planning to hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro, you’ll need warm clothes and sturdy shoes. But if you’re headed to the coast, you’ll want to pack lighter items that will help keep you cool. And no matter where you go, bring a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.

Conservative Views

Tanzania is a conservative country, and travelers should be aware of this before visiting. Conservative views can affect travelers in different ways.

For example, women are expected to dress modestly, public displays of affection are frowned upon, and public drinking should be kept to a minimum. Additionally, the government criminalizes same-sex relationships, and LGBTQ+ travelers are not safe or welcome in Tanzania.

In recent years, Tanzanians have become downright hostile to LGBTQ+ people. So, sadly, if you’re LGBTQ+, it’s best to avoid traveling to Tanzania at this time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Elephants crossing a river in Serengeti National Park for a piece titled Is Tanzania Safe

Here are some of the most common questions regarding Tanzania’s safety.

Is Tanzania Safe for U.S. and European Travelers?

Yes, for the most part. Tanzania is considered safe to visit, and violent crime against foreigners is rare. However, like in any country, some areas are best avoided. Travelers should exercise caution in urban areas, particularly in Dar es Salaam, and, as mentioned, should avoid non-essential travel to parts of the country that border unstable regions.

Is Tanzania a Rich or Poor Country?

Tanzania is often thought of as a poor country, but the truth is that it is a complex country with both rich and poor areas. Most of the population lives in rural areas and relies on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods.

In contrast, the urban areas of Tanzania are home to a growing middle class and an emerging economy.

While poverty is still widespread in the rural towns of Tanzania, the country has made significant progress in recent years. Thanks to economic reforms and investments in producing goods and services, Tanzania’s GDP has been growing steadily.

What Language Do They Speak in Tanzania?

The official language of Tanzania is Swahili, which is also one of the most widely spoken languages in Africa. Swahili is a Bantu language that originated on the East African coast and is historically regarded as the language of Tanzania and Kenya.

In addition to Swahili, English is also an official language of Tanzania. English speakers are easy to find in urban areas but rare in rural ones.

Furthermore, only a tiny minority of Tanzanians are native English speakers. Instead, most English speakers in Tanzania learned the language through secondary schooling or contact with English-speaking tourists.

Can You Use U.S. Dollars in Tanzania?

Although the official currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian shilling, U.S. dollars are also widely accepted. In fact, most businesses in Tanzania, particularly those catering to tourists, prefer U.S. currency because it’s more stable than their own.

That said, carrying some local currency with you isn’t a bad idea when traveling through Tanzania. This will be handy for small purchases, such as bus fare or snacks. In addition, you can exchange U.S. dollars for Tanzanian shillings at most banks and currency exchanges in Tanzania.

What Is Tanzania Known For?

Tanzania is known for its diverse wildlife, including the big five game animals (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino). One notable place to view these animals is in the Serengeti National Park, which is also one of Tanzania’s most popular tourist destinations.

In addition to its wildlife, Tanzania is also home to Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa. This legendary mountain stands at 19,341 ft and is a popular destination for hikers and climbers worldwide.

It’s estimated that around 35,000 people attempt to summit Kilimanjaro each year. Finally, Tanzania is also known for its unique culture and history.

The country was historically home to several powerful empires, such as the Swahili Sultanate and the German East Africa colony. These days, Tanzania is a melting pot of cultures, with more than 120 ethnic groups living within its borders.

So, Is Tanzania Safe to Visit?

Tanzania is a fascinating country with much to offer visitors. Despite some challenges, such as disease prevalence and petty crime, Tanzania is a welcoming place with much to see and do.

Travelers who respect local culture and customs will have a wonderful experience in this beautiful country. As for whether it’s safe to visit Tanzania or not, the answer is generally yes. However, as with any destination, exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings.

Avoiding non-essential travel to areas bordering Somalia or the Democratic Republic of Congo is advised. But in general, travelers should feel safe exploring the many sights and attractions Tanzania has to offer. Safe travels!

Source https://altezza.travel/en/articles/how-safe-is-tanzania

Source https://thewashingtonnote.com/tanzania-safe-country-to-visit/

Source https://travellersworldwide.com/is-tanzania-safe/

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