Due to the present shoot up of tax on hotels, safaris currently being booked will have the new 18% Value Added Tax included in the price quote to all the clients. Since the present increase was a surprise move and caught the hospitality industry and tourism sector off-guard, this development has received strong opposition from Uganda Tour Operators.
“There was no preparation for this development and we will have to add a surcharge covering the amount of the 18% Value Added Tax” Reported the AUTO, an umbrella association of the Uganda Tour Operators. It is so sad that there is no extra value for the tourist and the cash-strapped government added the 18% tax without doing any consultations.
Hoteliers, Lodge owners and managers, tour operators are simply the messengers of the new tax added by the government of Uganda. If a room was US$100 per night after July 1st it will be charged US$118. If your lodging cost of your safari was US$4000, the government has just added 720 USD to your cost of a safari in Uganda.
New Taxes will not only take effect lodging accommodations. The government has also increased fuel by UGX50 Uganda Shillings– which tour operators say that it increases the price of the safari. All these taxes are pushed to clients. Though some of these taxes can be absorbed easily, the 18% Value Added Tax has attracted the largest opposition. We are forced to pass that on if ratified by Parliament. If by some miraculous circumstance it is not ratified we will notify you here.
This will mean significant higher costs to visitors of up-country park lodges – and certainly there is not going to be a free lunch for anyone – not only will tourists pay more, convention, conference attendees will also incur the new charges.
Taxes exist in every country including Uganda – some countries allow mechanisms for a refund of taxes paid as visitors leave the country – sorry, your taxes are going to stay in Uganda and hopefully will be put to good use improving the infrastructure and other needed areas of the Pearl of Africa.
Is Uganda still worth visiting? The Reality – a resounding yes!!! All East African Countries are cash-strapped in 2013 and have added new taxes which will affect visitors to their countries as has Uganda. Uganda remains the Pearl of Africa with some Value Added – Tax that is. This year almost every country in East Africa will cost more and so will Uganda – enjoy your visit to the Pearl of Africa.