Tourism ministry announces huge increase in hotel concession fees

16May 2018
Polycarp Machira
The Guardian
Tourism ministry announces huge increase in hotel concession fees

THE Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism collected a total of 18.8 billion/- in concession fees from all tourist hotels operating in the country’s national parks during the 2017/2018 financial year, a whopping 174 per cent increase from the previous year, the National Assembly heard yesterday.

Responding to a question from Amina Mollel (Special Seats-CCM), deputy minister Japhet Hasunga said the amount was collected between July 2017 and March 2018.

According to Hasunga, this was an increase of 11.9bn/- (equivalent to 174 percent) when compared to the 6.9bn/- collected as confession fees during the 2016/2017 financial year.

He told the august House that Value Added Tax (VAT) paid to the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) out of the fees in 2017/2018 totaled 3.4bn/-, compared to 1.2bn/- in VAT collected in 2016/2017 within the same period under review.

In her question, Mollel had sought to know to what extent the government has implemented a parliamentary resolution to collect tax on hotel services within national conservation areas through concession fees under a new procedure of fixed rates.

The deputy minister responded that the implementation started on July 1, 2017, as per the Government Notice No. 231 of 2017.

According to the notice, foreign hotel owners are charged 25 and 50 US dollars each depending on the conservation area concerned.

For example, Hasunga said, 25 dollars is charged per hotel inside Mikumi National Park while 50 US dollars is charged inside the Serengeti National Park.

In a supplementary question, Mollel asserted that some hotels are defaulting on paying the fees in question, and queried what legal measures are being taken against such defaulters.

Hasunga acknowledged that initially some hotels were hesitant to pay the fees at the new rates due to lacking enough education on the matter. He said the government took the initiative to provide the required education where necessary.

He added that the initiative has been successful in that all hotel owners are now complying with the requirement of the government notice, and thus there is no need to take legal action against any of them.

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