Stake­hold­ers Lack Con­fi­dence in Tan­za­nian Tourism Min­is­ter

Tourism Tattler - - EDITORIAL - This ar­ti­cle ap­peared first on eTN: Global Travel & Tourism News About the Au­thor: Prof. Dr Wolf­gang H. Thome is the pub­lisher of ATC News, and a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to Touris­mTat­tler, eTur­boNews and The Travel Group. With over 40 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in t

“The meet­ing with our Min­is­ter was a sham­bles,” ranted a reg­u­lar Arushabased stake­holder be­fore adding “He got no grip on the in­dus­try, he does not un­der­stand tourism and his in­sis­tence ear­lier in [ 2016] that tourism must be sub­jected to VAT shows that he is against the in­dus­try he is sup­posed to rep­re­sent in gov­ern­ment.”

“He is an­other in a long line of fail­ures which shows gov­ern­ment does not ap­pre­ci­ate the sec­tor at all. One of the few over the past years of sub­stance was Kagesheki but most others were just pos­tur­ing pea­cocks” – leav­ing out some of the most un­print­able com­ments made on the sub­ject.

Prof. Ju­manne Ab­dal­lah Maghembe, the cur­rent Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Tourism for the United Repub­lic of Tan­za­nia, met in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives over gov­ern­ment de­mands of a $2,000 li­cence fee, ir­re­spec­tive of the size of the com­pany in ques­tion, and for some time banned the en­trance of tour ve­hi­cles into the parks, un­less the driv­ers car­ried copies of the li­cences with them. This led to wide­spread protests from a large num­ber of small sa­fari op­er­a­tors, al­most all owned by Tan­za­ni­ans, who tried to carve out a niche in the mar­ket for them­selves by go­ing in­de­pen­dent. Par­tic­i­pants in the meet­ing then re­ported that the min­is­ter had to make a hu­mil­i­at­ing climb­down and sus­pend the mea­sure, al­low­ing tour ve­hi­cles into the parks for the time be­ing, while a more mod­er­ate and mea­sured so­lu­tion was sought.

At the same meet­ing, the gov­ern­ment also came un­der fire for not do­ing enough to pro­mote and mar­ket the coun­try, again lead­ing to some fee­ble ex­cuses by the min­is­ter, who failed once more to em­brace the pri­vate sec­tor’s chal­lenges and prob­lems and – like with his stand on VAT – only served to fur­ther es­trange him­self from the sec­tor.

The min­is­ter re­port­edly left red-faced after a bar­rage of dis­con­tent by meet­ing par­tic­i­pants with TATO (Tan­za­nia As­so­ci­a­tion of Tour Op­er­a­tors) rep­re­sen­ta­tives minc­ing no words how detri­men­tal the gov­ern­ment’s mea­sures were for the en­tire in­dus­try.

Said an­other reg­u­lar source in a vol­un­teered state­ment, given on con­di­tion of anonymity for ob­vi­ous rea­sons – con­sid­er­ing the cur­rent crack­down on any form of dis­sent: “The sooner they recog­nise that a good work­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor is ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial, the bet­ter. This min­is­ter has failed us, full stop. We feel like we are all treated like tax evaders and cheats un­til proven in­no­cent and that is not cli­mate un­der which the sec­tor can pros­per. Maghembe should be the first to make way for a bet­ter-suited per­son be­cause tourism de­serves the best, not a re­cy­cled politi­cian who has done noth­ing else but of­fend us”.

Harsh words no doubt, but by the look of it, quite un­der­stand­able. Edi­tor’s Note: In 2016, Maghembe faced in­ter­na­tional con­tro­versy after al­low­ing a com­pany back into Tan­za­nia that he knew had com­mit­ted dozens of wildlife crimes. The com­pany – Green Mile Sa­fari from the United Arab Emi­rates – had been kicked out of Tan­za­nia after their own pro­mo­tional video showed an­i­mal tor­ture and re­peated vi­o­la­tions of Tan­za­nia law. Maghembe’s de­ci­sion to let the com­pany back in was widely as­sumed in news re­ports to be based on his ac­cep­tance of a bribe from Green Mile. Per­haps it’s time for Pres­i­dent John Magu­fuli to move Maghembe back to his old post as Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Food and Co­op­er­a­tives where his de­gree in Forestry would be more ap­pro­pri­ate.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.