Tanzania, in a rather desperate move, scraps all Value Added Tax (VAT) on trophy hunting fees, licences and permits with the view of “promoting” business in the sector.
Note there was no such “easement” made for the photographic tourism industry which will continue to have to pay their 18% VAT to government.
The hunting sector in Tanzania has been under siege recently. For example, there was much surprise about how a hunting company by the name of Green Mile, banned from operating after videos emerged of lots of illegal activities, resurrected itself as a company called Shangri La and began operating again. Such moves once again led to accusations of corruption within the industry and those supposedly regulating them.
Also, the US Fish and Wildlife Service recently placed a moratorium on all imports to the USA of elephant trophies and lion trophies. That cut income to the Tanzania hunting operators by about 60%.
One source tells me that many Tanzanian Members of Parliament are heavily invested in the trophy hunting business. No wonder the government is attempting to prop up the hunting operators? Not really with the “view of promoting business”, but rather throwing them a lifebelt.
Tanzania has always been seen as a “prime” destination for trophy hunters. The Selous and other magnificent wildlife areas were always big attractions – and hunting concessions are conveniently located right on the borders of nationally protected areas. However, Tanzania was always “expensive” for hunters . Cut rate prices are now the vogue, and those have long been offered in South Africa, Zimbabwe and to a lesser extent Namibia and Zambia.
Trophy hunters have set up a competitive market in other words, and Tanzania was getting too expensive?
Removal of VAT should be seen as the last desperate measure available to trophy hunters and their parliamentary supporters. It is high time Tanzania smelled the coffee and promoted photographic tourism over consumptive tourism. And that the abolition of VAT should also be extended to photographic tourism companies.
Picture credit – mm-safaris.com