With the Tanzanian Government removing the VAT exemption on tourism services and the Brexit vote affecting the value of Sterling against most major currencies, Acacia Africa has sought to calm agent fears.
Confirmed bookings made before 01 July 2016 will not be subject to any additional costs. The adventure specialist cited its long-term relationships with partners and fairness to clients as a major reason for their decision.
Vivian McCarthy, director of Acacia Africa, said: “While completely out of our control, the removal of the VAT exemption in Tanzania, specifically with regard to the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, has affected many tourism services including, game drives, camp fees, vehicle fees, conservation charges and park entrance fees. Currency fluctuations following the Brexit vote have impacted on costs abroad, including in Africa for Britsh travellers. This has affected budgeting of the Adventure Pass and made it necessary for us to recalculate the pre-paid Adventure Pass rates, but we would assure agents that sales confirmed prior to 1 July will not be affected by these changes. Our agents and clients have booked with us in good faith and we feel it is only fair not to pass on unexpected costs at such short notice. The revised rates will only apply to new bookings, irrespective of travel date.”
Acacia Africa’s new rates are now live on its website. The Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater are visited on many of the tour operator’s East Africa overland camping and accommodated overland tours. Properties and services in other areas of Tanzania, such as Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, have as far as Acacia Africa are able to ascertain not been affected by the recent announcement.
McCarthy added: “We are sure other operators will be facing similar pressures and concerns. Costings of wildlife parks and other attractions and whether VAT applies (or not) are clearly a matter for the country concerned, in this case Tanzania, but as an independently owned operator working hard to attract visitors to Africa we at Acacia would urge the authorities to give us reasonable notice of cost increases so we have the chance to amend brochures, change websites, and give clients reliable information in good time. Making and implementing changes within the space of less than two weeks, and doing so in July at the height of the season, create challenges to the industry doing its best to encourage the this year’s fragile recovery.”