NCAA denies accusations of staff vehicles being used to ferry tourists

11Nov 2016
Edward Qorro
The Guardian
NCAA denies accusations of staff vehicles being used to ferry tourists

THE Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) has denied claims that vehicles belonging to their staff were now used to chauffeur tourists around the national park.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA)

The allegations followed reports that local tour operators without Tourist Agents Licensing Authority (TALA) were now being barred from accessing NCAA.

Late last month authorities at Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and the NCAA issued circulars to bar local tour operators from accessing the two parks for failing to pay the disputed USD2,000 operation licence fee.

In his interview with this paper earlier this week, the chairperson of the association of local tour operators, Abnery Timothy Zoya, alleged that the NCAA administration was now using top-of-the-range vehicles belonging to their staff in taking tourists around the park.

“Once our cars get stopped at the NCAA’s gate tourists are told to use vehicles owned by some of their staff on grounds that they pay the same amount they would have been charged by us,” he alleged.

But in a quick rejoinder yesterday, NCAA’s Tourism officer Peter Makutiani refuted the claims, deeming them baseless and unfounded.

According to Makutiani, there was no staff vehicle authorised to ferry around tourists within the NCAA.

“Though we have slapped such a ban on unlicenced safari vehicles, it is not true that some of our vehicles are being used as transportation for tourists,” he asserted.

The Tourism Officer faulted local tour operators for leveling blame against his authority following the ban, saying that the NCAA was acting and implementing a directive from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

Early this week, tour operators insisted that they were willing to meet President John Magufuli to seek his intervention over their alleged ban from accessing national parks while carrying tourists onboard their vehicles.

The more than 350 tour guides protested against being locked out of the national parks, a ban which stems from the disputed USD2000 (4.2m/-) as Tourist Agents Licencing Authority (TALA) fee they are required to pay to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism every year.

They have also threatened to go on strike if the Tourism Act of 2008, which provides for the disputed licence is not reviewed.

The Tourism Act of 2008 stipulates that TALA regulation as quantum of its sector license should be $2,000 (Sh4.2million) for a local, while a foreigner is charged USD5,000 (Sh10.5million) annually.