Sunday January 7, 2018
By Joe Lihundi, Tranquility News reporter, Arusha
The government has unveiled new rates of fees for Tanzania Tourism Business License (TTBL) as well as for grading accommodation facilities in the country.
The minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Hamis Kigwangalla, suspended both flat rate fees for the $2,000 TTBL and the $3,500 for grading accommodation facility tow months ago, pending consultations with players in the industry.
The move followed complaints that the flat-rate fees discouraged upcoming local investors from venturing in the lucrative industry legally.
“We’ve heard your outcry, we’re here to set and agree on new rates, provided they do not compromise with revenues stipulated in the national Budget,” Dr Kigwangalla told the tourism players, as he kicked off the two-day consultation meeting in Arusha recently.
Local investors with between one and three tourist vans now have to pay a TTBL fee of $500, while those with between four and 10 vans will pay $2,000, 11 and 50 vans $3,000 and 51 plus vans $5,000.
Foreign investors with between 10 and 30 tourist vans have to pay $5,000, 31 and 50 vans $7,500 and 51 plus vans $10,000.
The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (Tato) chairman, Mr Willbard Chambulo, commended the government for the new TTBL rates, saying their five-year-long outcry had been heard at last.
“Consider waiving the $50 fee a tour operator with few vans has to pay in case the need to hire an additional van arises druing peak seasons,” he said.
Much as the automated Registration and Licensing System will not allow unregistered tourist vans in national parks, this fee is tantamount to double taxation, Mr Chambullo explained.
However, the minister called on the tourism players to submit to his office their complaint on the $50 fee slapped on each additional tourists’ vehicle.
Hotel grading fee
An accommodation facility with between 25 and 50 rooms will now be graded at $1,000, 51 and 100 rooms at $2,000 and 101 plus rooms at $2,500. A tented camp with between one and 25 rooms will be graded at $450 and between 26 and 100 rooms at $1,000, while a mobile camp will be graded at $200.
If you want a wooden, tanzanite or gold plaque, you make it yourself,” – Tanzania Tourism minister Hamis Kigwangalla.
Mr Chambullo, who also owns city hotels and tented and mobile camps, however, asked the government to consider dropping the accommodation facility grading fees altogether and use the Tourism Development Levy (TDL) collections for the task instead.
Dr Kigwangalla said the government would consider the request. He admitted that the TDL collections were not spent on the intended tasks yet since the inception of the regulation in 2013, but cautioned that the two levies had different perspectives.
“Basically the TDL has to support the sector, but we’ve not received the funds from the government’s system yet,” he said, explaining that stamped certificates would be awarded instead of plaques after an accommodation facility has been graded.
“If you want a wooden, tanzanite or gold plaque, you make it yourself,” said the minister, adding that the newly proposed rates would come into force in July next year.
The acting director of Tourism Division, Mr Deograsias Mdamu, said the grading of accommodation would be compulsory to all registered facilities six months after they are constructed and that the exercise would be conducted after every three years or renovation.
The classification of tourist accommodation facilities is being conducted in the five member states of the East African Community — Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.
It is expected to stimulate competition in service delivery, efficiency and responsibility among governments and business stakeholders in the travel and tourism sectors. More than 60 hotel inspection experts across the region have been trained to conduct the exercise.