New VAT for Uganda Safari Lodges

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2013: Although the Ugandan government had proposed a tax increase that would affect tourists coming to Uganda, Great Lakes Safaris and others within the tourism industry successfully lobbied to prevent its implementation. We will keep you posted, in case the situation changes in the future. For up-to-date information, please check out our Frequently Asked Questions FAQs page.

ORIGINAL NEWS STORY PUBLISHED JUNE 26th 2013: Last Friday, the Uganda Government decided to start levying 18% VAT for all lodge and hotel accommodations in Uganda. It has shocked the travel industry because no warning was given in advance. Moreover, the new law will apply from 1 July 2013, giving us hardly a week notice.

Until now, only hotels in Kampala were charged taxes. However, from 1 July no exemption is allowed anymore, meaning that ALL accommodations throughout the country will be subject to 18% VAT. Additionally, fuel is going to be placed in a higher tax bracket starting 1 July 2013, which will affect not only the direct fuel prices but also the general costs of food, beverages and any items that have to be imported or transported.

Primate Lodge Kibale - Luxury safari tents

Primate Lodge Kibale

As you can imagine, this recent decision will have a significant impact on the tourism sector and the hotel prices. To our greatest regret, Great Lakes will not be able to absorb all of the extra cost and yet continue providing the high standards you are all used to. However, to try and minimize the effects for you as our client, we are working around the clock to request for invoices and settle payments before 1st July, so that our confirmed safaris will not be affected by the sudden increase.

What does this mean for you?

  • We will honor the previously confirmed prices for existing bookings which have been prepaid or fully paid.
  • Quotes for pending enquiries or bookings that are not fully confirmed yet before 1 July will be revised to include the VAT on all accommodations.
  • New enquiries and bookings from 1 July will be subject to the increase.
  • Published tours like our sample itineraries, international group safaris, special offers and fly-in safaris will be adjusted according to the new VAT.

As we understand that this news comes as an unpleasant surprise for you as much as for us, we do not expect from you to settle the complete payment before the weekend. However, we would like to give you the possibility to confirm your safari NOW in order to enable us to guarantee the initially quoted price. Kindly confirm your safari latest Friday, 30 June 2013. A fully confirmed safari means that we have received a written confirmation as well as your personal details including full names, passport details and date for birth for all participants.

We realize that this situation seems very unprofessional and we are so sorry to have to do this, but we have no choice. If you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact us. Please bear in mind that we might not have all answers until the budget changes are finalized.

We do apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.