Serengeti — SERENGETI District Council is asking the central government to bring back bedding fees it used to charge several tourist hotels situated in western Serengeti.
The government's decision to abolish the bedding fees several years ago is said to have badly affected domestic revenue in the area in recent years.
The wildlife rich district hosts several classic tourist hotels that accommodate thousands of clients from different parts of the world, with those from overseas leading.
The hotels belong to both serious local and foreigner investors. "Bedding fees is a tax abolished by the government but it is important for development of Serengeti district ", Ms Goody Pamba, the Serengeti District Executive Director (DED), told the 'Daily News' over the weekend.
Ms Goody requested Mara Regional Commissioner (RC) Mr John Tupa to help in convincing the government to bring back the bedding fees during the most recent Regional Consultative Committee (RCC) meeting which met in Musoma a few days ago. RCC is a high decision making organ at the regional level.
She confirmed that some investors operating tourist lodges in the area have started showing interest in paying bedding fees. "We wrote to them (investors) and some have started showing positive response", the new Serengeti DED hinted without going into details.
The district council's annual projection collection from own sources ranges between 1.1bn/- and 1.2bn/-, according to her. The District Council is also looking into the possibility of charging all planes landing at Fort Ikoma and Grumeti Reserve airstrips.
The move is meant to boost the district council's revenue in a bid to enable it provide better services to the people who in the past relied mostly on poaching as their major source of income. Officials estimate that over 90 per cent of Serengeti district is made up of a variety of beautiful fauna and flora that forms large part of Serengeti Eco-system.
Serengeti district is rated to have the highest number of investors who have heavily invested on the booming tourism sector in Mara region. But majority of the area residents are reportedly still living below poverty line with the district council efforts to improve social services being hampered by poor revenue among other things.