In early August, Tanzania
finally announced the long-awaited hunting concession allocations
for 2013-2018. A total of 60 companies received allocations for 156 hunting blocks. Although a list of successful companies was released, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism had not yet released the list of what concessions each company received. At press time, individual letters had been sent informing companies of their success or failure to acquire concessions. Word is that some long-established safari companies were allotted the same concessions they had previously, others lost some of their concessions while still others were completely locked out. Curiously, a number of new, unknown entities got concessions instead of some proven operators. Of the 60 companies awarded concessions, only nine (15 percent) are foreign owned. That is in accordance with new restrictions under the revised Wildlife Conservation Act. All the other companies are Tanzanian owned.
These allocations have been a long time coming, and the results are disappointing for many safari operators because the new allocation system was supposed to reward operators for doing things right (conservation, anti-poaching, community development, prompt payment of fees, etc.). The feedback I am getting is that this did not bear out in many cases.
Continuing subscribers will remember my 2009 report about the delay in the allocations due to politics over the safari industry. (See Article ID 2207
.) The reallocations should have taken place in 2007 with effect in 2009. That did not happen, and safari operators were left in limbo, not knowing if they were marketing safaris for concessions they would not have in the future. At the 2009 Safari Club International Convention, the Tanzanian Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism announced a three-year extension of the concession term, scheduling the reallocations to take place in 2010 and go into effect in 2013. She had assured everyone that her ministry understood the needs of the hunting industry to conduct marketing efforts effectively and that "appropriate" measures were being taken to safeguard the industry. That minister, Shamsa Mwangunga, had replaced Jumanne Maghembe, who was behind those disastrous trophy and concession fee increases we reported on extensively in 2007. Mwangunga subsequently came under fire from the Tanzanian parliament for her decision to delay the reallocations further and was replaced after the October, 2010 elections.....