THE government has restored the suspension of duty on vehicles imported by safari operators, an official notice showed on Friday, after having scrapped the incentive over claims of abuse.
The new measure, according to the Government Gazette published on Friday took effect on January 1. The piece of legislation was initially gazetted in 2012 before being temporarily suspended over allegations of abuse by some operators.
“The Finance and Economic Development minister in consultation with the Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister shall approve a suspension of duty in respect of specified motor vehicles for exclusive use in the safari operator business by safari operators registered with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe,” reads the statutory instrument in part.
“A safari operator shall, when effecting entry on importation, or on removal from bond of motor vehicle under a suspension, submit with the relevant bill of entry, a declaration signed by him or her, to the effect that the specified motor vehicle is to be used solely on the safari operator’s business.”
The safari sector has 65 big operators with tourists targeting the big five animals– elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhinoceros for trophies.
There are 220 registered medium sized operators and over 1000 small operators.
The big operators account for over 7% of the revenues.
Sector revenue was up 20% to $65 million in 2013 driven by an upsurge in tourists.
Tourists dropped to 1,8 million in 2013, compared to the two million in 2012.