Travel agents: Govt urged to promote tourism sector

09Jan 2020
Felix Andrew
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Travel agents: Govt urged to promote tourism sector

TRAVEL agents have requested more support from the government in order to develop tourism industry in Tanzania.

Moustafa Khataw

Speaking in  Dar es Salaam , the Chairman of Tanzania Society of Travel Agents (Tasota) Moustafa Khataw, said more is needed for the government to help the sector.

 

He said the government should review all charges or taxes imposed on travel agents.

“Travel agents have to pay to provide bank guarantee to IATA which is a big burden to  them especially when clients do not pay them on time”, he said.

He said the fees and commissions which they are supposed to pay are not friendly ,  hence needs  a review.

“We also urhe the government to establish a special unit that would deal with travel agents   to address our challenges”.

Khataw suggested that it was  right time for the establishment of a regulatory agency that would address issues pertaining travel agents.

Recently, the association issued a statement to the public informing customers on payment circle for air tickets issued in Tanzania.

It said that the credit period enjoyed by International Air Transport Association (IATA) accredited air ticketing agents in Tanzania is 15 days and may be reduced further to 7 days.

 Agents failing to meet payment deadlines will be declared defaulters and denied facilities to issue tickets.

Consequently , in order to protect the industry  from a crisis arising from potential massive defaults, existing credit terms for air tickets will change drastically  and can be also in favour of cash / credit card or prepayments as well.

This is therefore to advise all consumers of air travel services especially corporate entities and government departments to take not of the terms and conditions. The association urged customers to ensure necessary adjustments in payment plans to conform to the new requirements of the relevant agent.

TASOTA is the national association representing the interests of travel agents in Tanzania.

It serves as the single voice of travel agents in the  industry with a mandate to promote the highest code of ethical and professional standards members in their dealings with consumer and each other.

Meanwhile, Tasota  in partnership with other certified training institutions will soon embark on a programme to upgrade human capital in tourism industry.

At moment human capital is the biggest constraint  in tourism industry.

The chairman said  TASOTA in collaboration with certified training institutions will provide requisite training to personnel in the travel industry in order to enhance their knowledge and   skills.

Commenting on  travel  and tourism business status at the moment, he said there is growing interest for tourists  to visit  Tanzania .

He said figures being shared by Tanzania Tourists Board (TTB)  look encouraging and thus participation at various trade shows will yield good results.

“With Air Tanzania planning to fly on international routes, this will boost tourism especially from India and China,” Khataw noted.

He also said that air  travel has had challenging times in Tanzania for the past few years  since there are few companies which had announced to close shop.

 “We understand that ETIHAD Airways – The National Airline of Abu Dhabi has pulled out of Tanzania market from 1/10/2018 and there has been stiff competition especially with the low season being round the corner”, he said.

Airlines want to “rope in” customers in advance by giving lucrative offers, he said adding that air fares within African countries are still on the higher side.

According to him , with prudent measures being taken by the fifth phase government, travel from the government sector has reduced as  result  it has in turn affected many of our members.

Khataw said in order to improve the sector, domestic air fares as well as intra-African travels have to be re-aligned and “open skies” treaty be implemented.