|Posted by maunselfdrive4x4 on September 4, 2011 at 5:15 PM|
From this weeks article in the Ngami Times By Norman Chandler:
Botswana appears to be pricing itself out of the international tourism market with a proposed whopping increase in fees for entry by land, river and air into the national parks.
The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) has been holding meetings with industry stakeholders over their proposals, and have run up against objections from all sides.
However, according to insiders, the DWNP is likely to go ahead with the increases and many in the industry think this could result in large-scale cancellations next year as well as crippling the lucrative 4x4 tourist influx from South Africa or Namibia. “We were told it is a proposal and that our contribution to how the park fees should be structured would be welcomed.
“It is clear they have not done any proper study. Objections made were that Botswana is an expensive destination as it is, so putting up the park fees will affect future bookings,” said one participant at a meeting held at the Bocodol college in Maun last week. “The officials would also not let the industry have a copy of the proposals.”
It is understood the proposals do not affect the privatised camping areas which have their own set of charges.
Self-drive tourists into the Moremi and Chobe game reserves will have to fork out P350 per person as against the current P120 if the proposals are implemented.
Camping fees in the northern parks are set to jump from P30 to P200 per person and in the southern parks to P100. Wilderness camping will now cost P600 per person per day as against the existing P200. In the south, the fee will be P400.
Staff at lodges will be charged P500 (citizens) as against nil at present, and the residents' annual fee is proposed at P5 000.00 – a P4 000 jump.
Botswana registered cars, currently charged P10 to enter any park will cost P50 and trailers also P50, while it is proposed that foreign registered vehicles will be charged at a rate of P150, with the same amount for trailers. The biggest jump is reserved for the popular mokoro trips. The annual cost for mokoro trips has been set at P2 000 and the day rate at P25. Both categories are free at present.
The aviation sector is up in arms over the charges proposed for aircraft.
A Botswana registered plane is currently able to land for free in the parks but if the proposal goes through, this will become P600 per landing, and the annual fee – which will, say insiders, cause a major hardship for air charter companies – is set to go up from the current P1 500 to P5 000.
Foreign registered aircraft are presently charged P250 per day but this is scheduled to go up to P600 per landing. “Many air charter companies will not be able to afford these fees,” said one aviation expert.