TARIFFS FOR SERENA’S SERENGETI LODGES LIKELY TO RISE SHARPLY DUE TO TANAPA’S CRAZY DEMANDS
(Posted 26th May 2017)
As recently reported here has Tanzania National Parks, in short called TANAPA, gone into selfdestruct mode with their outrageous demands for an increase in concession fees, which HAT, the Hotel Association of Tanzania, pegged as high as 1.000 percent at a go, effective July 01st.
In one of the worst examples of recent times of institutional arrogance and ignorance has TANAPA so far failed to accept the need for a compromise as proposed by the Tanzanian private sector associations and key stakeholders, similar to what is going on in Rwanda at the moment over the doubling of gorilla tracking permits.
Subsequently has Serena Hotels, Tanzania’s leading hotel group, now taken the initiative to inform their clients that effective 01st of July tariffs, including contracted rates, may have to be raised accordingly to cater for the added cost inflicted on them.
With just weeks to go to the effective date does Serena see little option but to pass on the added charges to tourists, making safari vacations to Tanzania once again vastly more expensive into parks managed by TANAPA.
‘We were wondering why you in Uganda celebrated wildly when Rwanda raised their gorilla permit cost but now we understand. We will also celebrate if Tanzania goes ahead with the fee rises because safaris into Kenya will be so much more affordable and that gives us a competitive advantage. This is very important in an election year that we can carve out market share and we hope arrivals will not take the usual downturn in July and August but remain strong because of such factors‘ commented a regular senior tourism stakeholder from Nairobi when passing on the information about Serena’s notice to their clients:
As you may already be aware, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) has recently announced an increment on concession fees charged to guests visiting the properties within its National parks. As per the gazette notice the new fees is applicable from 1st July 2017.
While this will impact our three properties located within Serengeti National Park (Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge, Kirawira Serena Camp and Mbuzi Mawe Serena Camp), it will not impact our other properties – Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge and Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge in the Northern Safari Circuit.
This abrupt increase has come as a shock to the industry in general and given the nature of the business in which Tourism operates, we are disappointed that in such issues, where much is at stake in the Tourism industry, stakeholders were not consulted to deliberate on the potential consequences and effective solutions. Since late last week, Serena Hotels and other industry players have been working on intense lobbying efforts – to prevent the increase as accommodation rate commitments to suppliers of business is made a year or two in advance and it is difficult to reopen contracts; and in the failure of prevention, delay the increase to allow for some grace period for implementation, thus minimizing the impact on paid and confirmed bookings as we move into the peak season.
Whilst we are hoping that reasonableness prevails in the final decision by the authorities, it is important for us to inform you that in the absence of a successful outcome, we will review all the modalities of application, as indeed Serena Hotels cannot carry the additional cost imposed which is beyond Management’s control.
As always, thank you for your continuous support, understanding and patience as we try to reach a final direction on the matter, which will be communicated within the next few days.
It remains to be seen if TANAPA’s top management finds wisdom and common sense in the coming weeks to halt the decision and opt for renewed negotiations and a phased approach, or if their open contempt for the private sector – quoting a leading association boss in Arusha – will remain in place which would no doubt completely undermine any level of trust by the private sector in their handling of matters of national importance.
Time will tell so watch this space for updates over the coming days and weeks.