UNILATERAL FEE HIKES CONTINUE IN TANZANIA
(Posted 31st October 2017)
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) has as feared followed suit of the TANAPA move earlier this year and also introduced new concession fees which will be effective from 01st December 2017. Click here to view the Notice from the NCAA to Tanzanian tour operators.
Just like the Tanzania National Parks, NCAA will also work on a fixed rate of USD 59 per adult and USD 12 per child inclusive of VAT, which is going to reflect an increase on current concession fees charged from property to property. It remains to be seen how the properties located inside the NCCA boundaries will deal with the new concession fees and what supplements already booked and often paid for clients will have to cough up, like it or not.
Serena Hotels, as often first out of the starting blocks, has already given their supplement of 43 US Dollars per adult to be paid over and above the contracted safari package rates, as did Sopa Lodges while some other properties are still pondering their next moves.
Just like with TANAPA is NCCA also insisting that tourists must pay for the new fee at the gate though it is understood that some companies are seeking more user friendly payment facilitation. However, given the intransigence of the authorities and their staff involved is it by no means certain that lodge groups or individual properties will actually reach a settlement agreement to pay the added fees directly to spare tourists pockets being emptied at the gates.
NCCA chief Freddie Manongi was earlier in October quoted in local print media that in his opinion there were too many vehicles visiting the crater anyway, an opinion which left many tourism marketeers simply stunned.
Meanwhile is controversy also raging on over the recent cancellation of legally acquired and paid up hunting permits which the new tourism minister wants to have substituted with an auction system. TAHOA and TPHA officials all but denounced the ministerial announcement and suggestions have been floated to contest the permit cancellation in court given that no fee refunds have been offered at this stage, something some members of the hunters fraternity termed a blatant violation of their rights.
Relations between tourism businesses and government institutions like the ones mentioned here were also described to be at a historic low over what several regular contributors called bulldozing methods which in their opinion caused huge cost increases for safari packages to Tanzania and is leading to a diversion of tourists into less expensive destinations not only in Eastern Africa but to Southern African countries like Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa among others.