THE government has been advised to ease taxes on air travel so that many Tanzanians can afford to use air transport in conducting their economic activities.
The advice was given by the General Manager of Travelport, Mr Eliasph Mathew during the launch of a new network for issuing tickets online (Precise Sky) which will help small airlines to compete in the aviation business. Travelport is an international company which is involved in assisting airline companies to get air ticketing systems.
Mr Mathew said that there are too many taxes levied against airlines but at the end of the day the burden of the taxes is taken down to passengers.
"This affects the economy because tourists would rather travel to neighbouring countries like Uganda or Kenya where they will be charged less while Tanzania has the most tourist attractions in the East African region.
They are now recommending that there should be VAT on air transport, this will only weaken the aviation industry," he said. He said that at the moment air passengers get all their services online including purchasing tickets, booking, food and the hotel to stay at their final destination thus the need for airline to adopt to the new system and stay relevant.
Precise Sky Manager, Gloria Urasa said that the new online system is new in the country and will help small airlines get recognition abroad by increasing areas where they can sell tickets and thus expand business.
Acting Director General of Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), Mr Charles Chacha agreed that many Tanzania cannot afford to travel by air but the government is taking measures to address the situation. He said that one of the measures is to improve infrastructure so that airplanes can land at airports around the clock in the country and to register as many airlines as possible.
He said that if more companies were to operate in the country there would be competition which will help to reduce the costs of air travel and many Tanzanians will be able to afford it.