HAT OBTAINS INJUNCTION AGAINST TANAPA – BATTLE OF FEES GOES TO NEXT LEVEL
Information was just received that after a week of arguments, submissions and deliberations has the High Court in Tanzania granted an injunction to the Hotel Association of Tanzania, and their members, to prevent TANAPA from collecting unilaterally introduced fees, after discarding a negotiated and signed agreement reached earlier in the year.
As reported here did TANAPA then in a case of ‘attempted business suicide’ try to offload the burden on individual tourist and tour operators bringing tourists to the parks, when a few weeks ago they stranded nearly 1.000 tourists at their respective park gates for much of that Monday and Tuesday. This triggered an avalanche of complaints and threats to sue from in particular American tourists for being illegally detained at park gates and blackmailed to part with additional money after having fully paid for their safari vacations. While more level headed personnel of TANAPA then prompted a compromise, whereby tour and safari operators had to sign ‘bills’ and commit themselves to pay for the illegally raised fees, this at least helped the tourists who could get on with their tours, while safari operators immediately dismissed the ‘bills’ as ‘documents forced upon us under duress’ and vowed never to pay.
Court now ruled in favour of the applicant ‘HAT’ and in fact ordered TANAPA to bear the cost for the proceedings, and further determined that the main suit will be heard within 6 months. The injunction is valid from the 01st of August, effectively denying TANAPA any option to unilaterally raise their fees, or else illegally attempt to offload the burden of collection on individual tourists or on tour and safari operators.
The decision prompted jubilant comments from the tourism fraternity in Tanzania, also restoring confidence in the court system which in the past often served as a tool to the executive rather than finding honest judgments.
Watch this space as the main court battle will soon go underway, and how this turns out for the plaintiff ‘HAT’ and their members and the respondent TANAPA.