Thursday, January 18, 2018

Tanzanian Tour Operators Demand Single Online Tax Platform

Related image
Tanzanian Tour operators have implored the government to invent an online platform for all taxes to be done electronically with an eye to root out bureaucracy and ease compliance.

Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) says that its members would like to pay all taxes in a single online platform to allow them ample time to search for business opportunities.

Representing over 300 tour operators, TATO is a leading lobby agency for a tourism industry that earns the country’s economy about $2.05 billion per annul, equivalent to 17 percent of the country’s GDP.

Highlighting key challenges facing the industry before the visiting deputy minister for Finance, Dr. Ashatu Kijaji, TATO Chairman, Mr Willbard Chambulo said multiple taxes compliance consumes a lot of time and money and could encourage tax evasion.

Available records indicate that tour operators are subjected to 37 different taxes, comprising business registration, regulatory licenses fees, entry fees, income taxes and duties for each tourist vehicle per annul, among others.

The TATO chairman argued that the contentious issue is not only how to pay myriad taxes and make profits, but also the modality and time spent in complying with intricate taxes.

“Tour operators need streamlining of taxes to ease compliance because the cost of compliance is so high and as such it acts as obstacle for voluntary compliance” Mr Chambulo explained.

Indeed, a study on Tanzanian tourism sector indicates that the administrative burdens of completing license tax and levy paperwork place a heavy cost on businesses in terms of time and money.

For instance, tour operator spends over four months to complete regulatory paperwork, whereas in tax and license paperwork consume his or her a total of 745 hours per year.

The report done by Tanzania Confederation of Tourism (TCT) and BEST- Dialogue, shows that average annual cost of personnel to complete regulatory paperwork per local tour operator is Tsh 2.9 million ($1,300) per year.

Tanzania is estimated a home to over 1,000 tour companies, but official data shows that there are as few as 330 formal firms complying with tax regime, which is likely to be due to the complexities of compliance.

This means that there could be 670 briefcase tour firms operating in Tanzania. Going by the annual license fee of $2000, it means that treasury loses $1.34 million annually.

TATO CEO, Mr Sirili Akko said: ‘No doubt that our members are compliant that is why they have audacity to request for a system which will relieve them of ‘long man hours’ in corridors of regulatory bodies. I am confident that our government will simplify payments systems for all government revenues including taxes as requested by private sector officials”

However, TATO hopes that the new system of issuing Tanzania Tourism Business License (TTBL) introduced by Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Dr Hamis Kigwangala, would effectively bring informal tour operators into the tax net.

Late last year, Dr Kigwangala took a bold step in scrapping off the old $2,000 flat rate fee for TTBL for all local tour operators without considering the size and business of the company.

The Minister introduced a new category where TTBL fee for tour operators with between one and three tourist cars would be $500 in his efforts to spur the majority small scale tour operators to formalize their businesses and boost the tax base.

In her response, Dr Kijaji agreed with TATO’s chairman arguments, vowing that the government would work on system where businessmen would be paying all taxes under one roof to offer them a hassle free taxes compliance.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Tanzania Publishes New Fees for Tourism Players

Image result for mkomazi national park
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has announced new fee rates and charges to be paid by tour operators and safari outfitters following the amendment of tourism fees and charges regulation.

According to a statement signed by the ministry's permanent secretary, Major General Gaudence Milanzi, the amendments have been gazetted in the Government Notice No. 506, December 29, 2017.

He said that for locals or companies whose majority shareholders are citizens owning at least one or three vehicles, they will be required to pay Tanzanian shillings equivalent to $500.

"Those with four up to 10 cars will be required to pay the equivalent of $2,000 and $3,000 for companies with 11 to 50 cars, while those with 51 and more cars, they will pay the fee of $5,000," he said.

In another development, the PS said that for non-citizens or companies whose majority shareholders are non-citizens, these will pay $5,000 for 10 to 30 cars.

While companies with 31 up to 50 cars will pay $7,500, and those with 51 and more cars will pay $10,000.

He said following the amendment, the existing 2017 business licences for tour operators and safari outfitters have been extended to January 31, 2018 to enable preparations for renewal under the new licence fee structure.

Major General Milanzi said applications for new business licence registration and for tour operators and safari outfitters for this year for both existing and new businesses are currently being received.

"All existing business are required to submit copies of vehicle registration as well as copies of business licence for the year 2017," he said.

December 10 and 11, last year, Tourism minister Hamisi Kigwangalla met with the sector stakeholders in Arusha to inform them of the new licence fees with the aim of increasing government revenues as well as including small firms with few cars in the business.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Global Travel Firm Lists Kenya and Tanzania Among Top 2018 Destinations

Image result for northern circuit adventure
A global travel and leisure group has ranked Kenyan and Tanzanian parks among top 2018 destinations that offer most trans-formative travel experiences.

The Travel Corporation (TTC) mentioned the model of 11-day East African safari in urban Nairobi, which heads off to the game-rich grassy plains of Kenya’s Masai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti, among the 2018 top 10 list of trans-formative travel experiences. During the safari, guests stay in luxurious camps and participate in daytime and night-time game drives in search of predators and prey. The trip ends with a three-night seaside stay on the spice island of Zanzibar.

“Our guests are seeking worldwide journeys that are not only experiential but which also cultivate deeper connections with the places they are exploring and include meaningful interactions with nature, wildlife, local people and cultures,” said TTC chief executive Brett Tollman. The family-owned company, now in its fourth generation, offers more than 1,000 trips spanning 60 countries on six continents.

The company said this curated list of trips recognises that travellers no longer want to simply journey but also seek out adventures that are personally fulfilling and return home transformed with a positive perspective and an expanded view of the world.

They said they were also aware that guests want to connect with other like-minded travellers to discover and share these experiences together in “travel tribes”, which the company has been creating.

Destinations:
Other destinations mentioned include best of Norway Trafalgar, India’s golden triangle and the sacred Ganges River cruises, London to Berlin Contiki, European vacations, British Royale luxury gold, Australia journeys, the English Carnations Hotel, and the Rhine U. Kenya has for long been a top destination for safari seekers showcasing its wealth of wildlife.




Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Kenya Runs out of Wildlife Space

Related image
KENYA’s latest wildlife census -- held just last December – shows the country is currently ‘proud’ home to 7,347 elephants, citing a slight increase in the jumbo’s population.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Ms Judy Wakhungu expressed concern that the country could no longer accommodate wildlife in the wake of an equally rising human population and related activities at the expense of natural reserves.

South of the border, in Tanzania, however where the number of elephants tips the 50,000-mark -- which is seven times more than Kenya’s – there’s also more land dedicated to wildlife conservation by a factor six. Dar-es-salaam, according to authorities, has more than enough space to accommodate all wildlife within its borders and works to increase the country’s wildlife Eco-system even further.

Tanzania has set aside over 265,000 sq km for wildlife conservation, or equivalent to 27 per cent of its total land area, while neighbouring Kenya to the north has just 44,600 sq km accounting for only 7.5 per cent of the country’s land mass.

The Director General for the newly established Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority Dr James Wakibara says here that, TAWA, which runs 28 game reserves and 46 Game Controlled Areas, so far covers over 200,000 sq km of land.

And, that’s discounting the 16 National Parks manned by the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) as well as the Ngorongoro Conservation being Conservation Area Authority (NCAA). Altogether, the 16 National Parks across the nation together cover an area of nearly 57,000 sq km while the Ngorongoro Conservation Area itself sits on an area measuring 8292 sq km.

In addition to National Parks, Game Reserves and Game Controlled Areas, Tanzania is establishing community-based Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) where villages pool land to create areas in which wildlife can thrive so that local residents could benefit from tourism activities.

Currently, there are 38 WMAs across the country, all at different stages of development of which 17 WMAs have attained Authorised Association (AAs) status. These will further add more land for wildlife in Tanzania. Tanzania has also gazetted nearly 20m ha of forests as forest reserves as well as 4.1m ha this are managed under Participatory Forest Management.



Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tanzania Unveils new Tourism license Fees

Image result for serengeti migration
Tanzania has unveiled a new structure for its Tourism Business License (TTBL) fees for both foreign and local operators to replace the flat-rate ones.

For over a decade, Tanzania has been charging flat-rate fees of $5,000 for the TTBL for foreign-owned tour companies and $2,000 for locals, regardless of the company’s size and volume of business.

Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Dr. Hamis Kigwangala, says the new fees to be enforced in January 2018, reflect the size of the company and volume of business to create fair competition for all.

Foreign investors with between 10 and 30 vehicles will pay $5,000; 31 to 50 cars will cough up $7,500; while those with 51 vans and above will incur $10,000 for TTBL per annul.

A local investor with between one and 3 tourist vans will pay a TTBL fee of $500, while each of those with between 4 and 10 vehicles will pay $2,000; 11 and 50 cars $3,000; while with 51 and above vans $5,000.

“The idea of the new TTBL fees structure is to make tourism more inclusive by taking on board all lower-end tour operators with one to 3 vehicles,” Dr. Kigwangala said during the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) ‘s annual gala dinner held at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Arusha over the weekend.

Since time immemorial, the policy had locked out the small-scale tour operators with single to 3 tourist vehicles, making them operating illegally at the expense of legal tour operators. The move also denied the government a lot of revenues.

The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators Chairman, Mr. Willbard Chambulo, expressed his appreciation to the minister for working on the issue, which has been a hard nut to crack for years.

Wildlife tourism in Tanzania continues to grow with over 1 million guests visiting the country annually and fetching $2.05 billion, equivalent to nearly 17.6 percent of the GDP.

Tourism provides 600,000 direct jobs to Tanzanians, as over one million people earn an income from the lucrative sector.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Yellow Fever entry Requirements in Tanzania Mainland

Related image
Yellow fever is a serious disease that is monitored internationally and therefore classified by the International Health Regulations (IHR), 2005 as a Public Health Emergence of International Concern (PHEIC). All PHEIC require specific monitoring procedures and measures that commensurate with and restricted to public health measures to meet the IHR, 2005 purpose.

Tanzania is mapped by the World Health Organisation as a low risk country because no Yellow fever virus has been isolated in the country. However, the abundance of Yellow fever vector and other favourable ecological conditions pose potential risk for Yellow fever if the virus is introduced into the country. Furthermore, being bordered with Yellow fever endemic countries has also increased the vulnerability of Tanzania being infected with the virus.

In order to conform to IHR, 2005 requirements and safeguard public health security in Tanzania, Yellow fever vaccination is mandatory to travellers arriving from Yellow fever endemic countries. This condition also applies to travellers subjected to long flight connection (transit) in Yellow fever endemic country for twelve hours (12hrs) or more.

Yellow fever vaccination which is given as a single dose should be administered ten (10) days before entering the country. A single dose is capable of providing a life protection against the virus. Exempted people due to medical reasons and age (above 60 and below 1 year) should seek medical attention in case of fever, headache, muscle and joint aches. Failure to produce a valid certificate of vaccination against Yellow fever to those eligible may lead to refusal of entry or vaccinated upon arrival and kept under close public health observation for not more than 10 days.

The cost of Yellow fever vaccination is 50 USD for foreigners and 30,000 Tsh for residents and East Africa Community members. Government receipt shall be issued for any vaccination charges paid.

Countries from Africa: 
Angola
Benin
Bukinafaso
Burundi
Cameroon
Central Africa Republic
Chad
Congo
Cote d’Ivore
Democratic Republic of Congo
Equatorial Guinea
Ethiopia
Gabon
Gambia
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea Bissau
Kenya
Liberia
Mali
Mauritania
Niger
Nigeria
Rwanda
Senegal
Sierra Leone
South Sudan
Sudan
Togo

Uganda

Countries from South America:                                               
Argentina                                                                                                                
Brazil
Colombia
Equador 
French Guiana
Guyana                                                
Panama
Paraguay
Peru
Suriname
Trinidad & Tobago

Venezuela (Republic of Bolivarian)
Plurinational State of Bolivia

Note:

  • Travellers coming from countries which are NOT IN THE LIST ABOVE will not be subjected to Yellow fever screening and vaccination at points of entry upon arrival.
  • Travellers coming from Yellow fever endemic countries who will not produce a proof of Yellow fever vaccination may lead to refusal of entry or vaccinated and kept under close public health observation for not more than 10 days.
  • For TANZANIANS travelling to Yellow fever endemic countries (See list above) ARE RECOMMENDED TO BE VACCINATED 10 days before travel.
  • For TANZANIANS coming from Yellow fever endemic countries who will not produce a valid certificate of vaccination against Yellow fever will be vaccinated upon arrival and kept under close public health observation for not more than 10 days.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tanzania: Mara to Market Tourist Attractions

Image result for mara region
MARA Region plans to market its tourist attractions in and outside the country, the Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr Adam Malima has said.

The plans would make the tourism sector help to boost the regional economy, according to the RC. The plans on table to open up Mara tourism industry among them was to improve road infrastructure, airport and hotels to woo visitors.

"A strategy is in place to improve and market tourist attractions available in Mara region", Mr Malima said recently when he was officially closing a crucial meeting he held with senior government officials from all districts in the Lake Zone Region.

The two-day meeting held in Tarime discussed key plans aimed at speeding up economic and social development in the region. The government is currently investing heavily on improvement of transport infrastructure in the region.

For example huge money is being spent to tarmac Makutano- Juu- Natta road which would link the wildlife- rich district of Serengeti with Lake Victoria upon completion. Musoma airport is also expected to have a new look once ongoing plans to improve it will be done.

Business people in Mara can take the advantage of the world famous Serengeti National Park (SENAPA) and other tourist attractions like Lake Victoria and the Mwalimu Nyerere Butiama Museum to invest in tourism sector.

Besides culture issues, the region is also blessed with other tourist attractions like beautiful hills , water falls at Mara river which need to be developed and marketed to make the tourism industry sector vibrant.

Investment on tourist hotels and tour operating companies is also another business opportunity that needs serious investors in the region. Meanwhile, the Mara RC Mr Malima also said that minerals sector must also have a significant contribution on the region's economy.

"We want to know the contribution of minerals sector in Mara region ", Mr Malima noted vowing to assess the performance of mining sector in the region. North Mara is considered the largest gold mine operating in the region but there are many other small gold mines scattered in various parts of the region.