VAT REFUNDS FOR TOURISTS DUE TO COMMENCE JANUARY 2012
A regular source from Dar es Salaam has provisionally confirmed that the long awaited VAT refunds for tourists on departure from either Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam or from the Kilimanjaro International Airport outside Arusha are due to start come the New Year 2012.
Goods purchased by non-resident foreign tourists do qualify for a VAT refund from a dedicated TRA Tanzania Revenue Authority office at both airports as long as purchases overall are at least 400.000 Tanzanian Shillings. The same source though pointed out that teething problems may yet have some tourists miss that chance to get some money back, in case logistical problems need resolving but that, if at all, may really only be temporary. Time to dig those pockets and buy buy buy Tanzanian made goods, curios, fabrics and other mementos and spread some little wealth into the country? In any case, good news from Tanzania for tourists, making the destination certainly more attractive for foreign visitors. Just waiting now when Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda will follow this trend. Watch this space.
Archive for December 29th, 2011
VAT REFUNDS FOR TOURISTS DUE TO COMMENCE JANUARY 2012
NEWS FROM THE ORLY AIRPARK GIVE AN ANNUAL ROUND UP
Harro Trempenau, former and almost forever chairman of the Aero Club of East Africa at the Wilson Airport in Nairobi, has since his eventual retirement two years ago from that position been relatively quiet, much to the dislike of, amongst many others, this correspondent. Harro, an aviator through and through and a larger than life personality, was one of the industrys prime sources of information, combative, eloquent and never shy to call a spade a spade, which earned him the admiration of most within the aviation fraternity and, mostly from regulatory nitwits with neither sense of humour nor any affinity to the reality of general and leisure aviation, lasting curses and wishes for swift damnation.
Harro of course moved on to the Orly Airfield he developed, to move leisure and general aviation out of the ever busier and constricted Wilson to the open plains and the news from there, told with tongue in cheek as ever before, are encouraging to read.
And so, as often done before, I am doing a copy / paste job on Harros mail, because only Harro can tell the story as Harro would, notwithstanding my own skills to play with words. But credit where credit is due, including another few broadsides as 2011 wanes and 2012 makes its presence known by knocking on the eternal door of time to be let in Enjoy, and do encourage Harro to continue writing so that we can all have some regular aviation fun when his works of art hit our mailboxes:
Dear Fellow Aviators and Orly Members
The Management of Orly Airpark sends you the compliments of the season and encourages you to use our airfield and its excellent facilities more frequently in 2012. The airport has two excellent runways, an Aero Club Club House for ACEA members, a Lounge, and even an aircraft maintenance facility. Check it out on our website www.orlyairpark.org.
The Outlook for 2012
Plans for 2012 are well advanced at Orly, including the water tower, taxiways, extension of Runway 06, and road improvements. We also keep pushing the Ministry of Transport to re-surface the Kiserian to Ollooloitikosh “Pipeline Road” that has frustrated our members all year. It’s a disgrace as travel time to Nairobi has doubled. We are assured by the authorities that the contract to re-build the road has been awarded and construction will start in January 2012. If that comes true, our prayers for 2012 will have been answered. Meanwhile, we are continuing to meet all bureaucratic obstacles that various Government department can think of for investors like us: a new NEMA Environmental Audit, a renewal of our KCAA Aerodrome Licence that requires(amongst other things) a policy manual on hazardous and radioactive goods, County County Rates, security inspections and countless other hurdles. The dream of pursuing the “Freedom of Flight” is a never-ending struggle, as most of us have seen at Wilson Airport. It is not clear why Governments throughout the world seem to all focus on aviation as the greatest threat, when 99% of all terrorist acts and bombings in the world are in fact perpetrated by means of conveyance like pick up trucks, scooters, donkeys and even people in various disguises. It is sad when aviation and air transport could help in making everybody’s life a lot easier, there is a push afoot to regulate flying to such a degree that the hassle outweighs the benefits. Flying is not growing at the pace it could, and it is not a good business to be in if the authorities continue to micro-regulate it with an army of bureaucrats that we are feeding. In Kenya we now have some four or five Government employees guarding and taking care of each of our 400 airworthy aircraft. This includes KCAA staff, KAA , KRA, Customs, Police, Intelligence, and who knows who else that are overseeing each flight. Yet, there is no evidence that this intensive “oversight” and mountains of new regulations have made any difference to flight safety. Things just take a lot longer now then they used to and flying now costs us a lot more money. . And we all thought that we fly because it’s quicker???
KRA Imposes Inbound Passenger Departure Tax
In a move that took everybody by surprise, the KRA suddenly sent out a circular a few weeks ago, that a Passenger Tax (Shs. 300 per person) will apply at Wilson Airport to aircraft that are “inbound”. Up to now, Passenger Departure Tax was applied only to aircraft departing from a number of larger airstrips in the country. The Kenya Association of Air Operators has objected to the new measure. It is not clear how KRA can justify a Passenger Departure Tax from airstrips that are not operated by the Government. For example, Orly Airpark is a strictly private airport that is not dependent on Government funds and, as such, it seems spurious if the Government charged a tax for departures from such private airports.
KCAA Weight-Distance Formula Has Teething Problems
Pilots will have noticed that the KCAA has imposed a new system of navigation fee payments. A formula, based on a factor involving the square root of the distance flown and the weight of the aircraft is being applied. Great confusion has set in at the AIS Stations around the country, as personnel are misinterpreting the system, are confused about the location of various airstrips, etc. Based on a check of the AIP, it is believed that the KCAA actually only knows about the existence of about half of the 650 or so airstrips in Kenya. It is not clear how the KCAA can charge a pilot correctly for a flight, if the officer is not certain where the airstrip is actually located.
Aircraft under 2500 kg all up weight are perhaps fortunate that they are eligible for a ‘commuted rate’ of Shs. 50000 per year, or Shs. 12500 per quarter. It is suggested to all operators of such light aircraft to prepay the ‘annual fee’ asap.
Tsavo Safari Camp Makes Come-back
Many of us who already flew in the seventies and eighties fondly remember our visits to Tsavo Safari Camp, along the Athi-Galana River near Mtito Andei. Overnight stays broke the flights between Malindi and Nairobi, and Sunday curry lunches were a favorite. In the nineties, the camp entered a downturn with the vagaries of the tourist economy, but it is now back with a vengeance. The Camp is under new Management, fixed up, the pool is clear, many activities are on offer, and the runway is most useable. This is an aviation-friendly destination and pilots and passengers have been invited to drop in and visit…….
” Father Christmas has landed you with a unique opportunity to be amongst the first ever members of Kitaani kya Ndundu-Tsavo Safari Camp..the old time favorite! This IS the perfect destination and stopover in a remote part of Tsavo.
Upon your first booking and arrival at Camp you will be presented with your Kitaani kya Ndundu-Tsavo Safari Camp loyalty card which offers discounted rates, whether its a stop over lunch or a longer stay which includes a newly created bouquet of unique Camp activities. and a window to much more!
Your details need to be submitted via email to tavosafaricamp, including telephone number, Email address and Country of residence. Please register soon in order to benefit from this membership at NO COST. A good steak, a good curry or simply a cold tusker a dip in the pool ready at all times so drop in…….
Those who want ideas about other day trips or overnight aerial excursions in Kenya should also check the Aero Club of East Africa website www.aeroclubea.com. You can also use the link on the Orly Airpark Web site www.orlyairpark.org . Check web page “Flying in Kenya”.
Orly Welcomes New Shareholders
We welcome Chris Kuto, Jonathan Knowles and Dr. Graham Omondi as new shareholders in our company. Their membership will add strength to our project , as all three have diverse aviationrelated backgrounds and/or are active pilots. Karibu, and we hope to see all of you make use of our facility.
Happy 2012….and Safe Flying….
When on the newly created Congo Nile Trail a few weeks ago, which hugs the shores and mountains along Lake Kivu from Kamembe to Gisenyi, a side trip to a unique orphanage, LEsperance in Kigarama captured my attention and imagination to such an extent, that it has not left my mind since then. Over the holiday season I was repeatedly thinking of those children, and their care givers and foster parents, especially as Christmas Eve came calling and when Christmas Day finally dawned. It reminded me of what I had seen there, and how like magically LEsperance was gifted with the spirit of Christmas, seemingly for the entire year. Christmas, after all, is supposed to be a season of sharing, especially with the disadvantaged, the less fortunate and those in greater need than oneself, and at LEsperance that spirit was ever present, even in November when I visited, and surely prevails throughout the year.
Set high in the hills above Lake Kivu, this orphanage is unique in many ways, not the least for aiming to become self sufficient in all their aspects of daily needs, although the Rwandan government has thankfully stepped in to absorb school and education fees for the children who found a home in the truest sense at LEsperance.
(This little one felt quite cold and was happy to be closely held by the author and given some warmth)
128 children and infants were at LEsperance at the time I visited in November and we, I was part of a media invitational tour of the new Congo Nile Trail just before it was officially launched, were received with such warmth and genuine affection, that there and then I decided that this was a story worth telling in greater detail.
LEsperance is part of a German based NGO, Childrens Aid International, and came to Rwanda in 1995, the year after a gruesome genocide had killed over 800.000 innocent men, women and children, and left tens of thousands of orphans in its wake. However, in the midst of this tragedy of epic proportions, the idea was conceived to bring LEsperance to Rwanda and create a place of refuge, safety and caring love for those little ones who had survived, and yet unbeknown to many of them due to their tender age also had lost their entire families. Initially set up to cater for but 100 children and infants, LEsperance is now the home to 128, some of them still there since they first were welcomed in 1995 as babies and toddlers while others have since then joined. Yet others have completed school, gone to university, graduated with honours and are now old boys and old girls of LEsperance, the ONLY home they have ever known since a cruel fate had robbed them of their families in 1994.
Volunteers from around the world, the United States, the Netherlands and even from Poland are giving their time and effort to work with the children and make their own personal contribution.
(Victor Monroy, Director of LEsperance at Kigarama <lesperancerwanda >
The team at LEsperance is led by self professed dictator Victor Monroy, who presented himself as anything but a dictator but a gifted communicator, able leader and visionary head of the Kigarama orphanage, intent to create a totally self sustained facility able to feed itself, educate the kids and offer them the opportunity to become anything they want to become, anything they want to be as he put it to me when we discussed his work. Given half a chance to talk about LEsperance Victor would launch into both history as well as the future of the orphanage, all at once, buoyed by the chance to get the message out to the world what good has been achieved and how much more could be accomplished given the right support with the right tools, through donations aimed to expand and improve the existing facilities. And going by the impressive list of existing partners, he and his totally committed team of volunteers and staff have made impressions around the world:
Engineers without Borders from the Johnson Space Centre in Texas and from Colorado University
The Manna Energy Foundation, United States
A Better World, Canada
Global Water Challenge, Washington DC
Catholic Relief Services
Birambye International, United States
are just a few major names who have in the past and continue to assist LEsperance at Kigarama to make certain that the children there not just have a chance of a productive future but are equipped to take such chances with both hands.
(The children all assembled and greeted us with welcome songs, written and composed by their own choir. The choir also produced a CD with a dozen compositions which can be ordered through Victor Monroy)
Set in over 20 acres of fertile land, LEsperance is growing all their fresh produce themselves, and having planted hundreds of avocado and mango trees are also able to sell to nearby markets, generating sustainable income for the orphanage which can then be used to purchase other items such as sugar, salt, cooking oil, detergents and a range of other goods needed every day to keep the wheels turning. 6 houses are the homes of the children, each one led by a member of staff who is the focal point and mother and father to the kids, someone they can relate to and can confide in.
Why am I writing this story now? Because the holiday season is upon us and some of you may be moved enough by this narrative to visit the websites of the orphanage via www.lesperancerwanda.org, or else www.victormonroytrust.com or www.icatis.org/birambye where more details on this place of Christmas spirit can be found and through which donations and support can be channeled. This time of the year is a time of goodwill to all people in need, a time of charity so do the needful and let the spirit of Christmas remain at LEsperance for the next 366 days 2012 is a leap year after all and well beyond. Thank you, on behalf of everyone at L’Esperance’!
KATHY MASON A SEYCHELLOIS TOURISM PIONEER
Every once in a while I come across some outstanding individual who has left her or his mark on the tourism industry of their respective countries, and yesterday my friend Alain St. Ange, himself a success story extraordinaire with the impact he has made on marketing the Seychelles and putting his beloved country into the global spotlight, sent me the story of Kathy Mason. She founded Masons Travel 39 years ago in 1972 with a single boat and when the jet age dawned over the archipelago with the opening of the Mahe International Airport in 1973, she was needless to say at hand to take advantage of a growing stream of visitors to the islands. Clearly, Kathy is now part of the Seychelles tourism history and was involved hands on to write this history with endless determination and a steely will to succeed, at times in the face of serious adversity. La Tribune of France has just dedicated a feature on her career and I hasten to copy this here, as a tribute to a Seychellois woman who knew what she wanted and knew how to get it: