Tourism Business in Tanzania: Tour Operator

Exploring a tour operator business in Tanzania | registration requirements, procedures and fees.

SUMMARY: Tanzania is a preferred tourism destination by most travelers. This article explores tour operator as a tourism business in Tanzania. A tour operator is a tourism agent that handles the ground operations with a fleet of vehicles that take tourists to selected tourism destinations. Readmore

They work closely with travel agents to get clients. A tour operator business in Tanzania can operate as company, a partnership, a sole proprietorship or a branch of a foreign company. Below we have highlighted the requirements, procedures and fees for all the three options.

A tour operator is a person or organisation responsible for planning trips and holiday packages. A travel agent is an individual broker or an agency selling holiday packages. While the tour operator creates the services, the travel agent is an intermediary who sells these services.

There are a number of differences in the requirements to register a tour operator vis-à-vis travel agency. For instance the motor vehicles requirement is not applicable in the registration of travel agency just like the IATA certified staff requirements isn’t a requirement in the registration of a tour operator. Check the link at the end of this post to learn more about travel agency business and the registration procedures, requirements and costs.

The Opportunity & Potential of Tour Operator Business in Tanzania

Tanzania is famous for its stunning natural scenery, encompassing notable landmarks like Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater, and the unspoiled beaches of Zanzibar. These destinations attract millions of visitors annually, offering profitable investment potential in eco-tourism, adventure travel, and wildlife safaris.

I. Tourist Arrivals and Expenditure

In 2023, Tanzania welcomed 1,808,205 international tourists, a significant increase from the 616,491 recorded in 2020, 922,692 in 2021 and 1,454,920 in 2022.

YearArrivalsEarnings
2020616,491USD 714.6 million
2021922,692USD 1,310.3 million
20221,454,920USD 2,527.8 million
20231,808,205USD 3,368.7 million

This surge in arrivals corresponds to a rise in tourism earnings, which reached USD 2,527.8 million in 2022, up from USD 1,310.3 million in 2021. The highest average expenditure per holidaymaker was USD 243.

II. Tour Operators in Tanzania

Tanzania has hundreds of registered tour operators. These entities design, develop, market, and operate packaged travel and tourism products. They sell these products through travel agents or directly to consumers. Tour operators provide professional ground transport for game viewing and sell tour packages.

III. Challenges and Opportunities

Challenges: Tour operators face hurdles in promoting their products and services. These challenges include competition, marketing, and operational complexities.

Opportunities: Tanzania’s diverse natural beauty, cultural heritage, and eco-tourism potential offer significant opportunities for both tour operators and travel agencies. Promoting sustainable practices and tapping into untapped potentials can drive growth in this sector.

Requirements to Register a Tour Operator Business in Tanzania

1. As a Company

By company here we refer to a body corporate of two or more persons incorporated under the Companies Act 2002 of the Laws of Tanzania. Take note that a company is allowed to have directors that are not shareholders and vice versa, but for simplicity, we will assume that the directors are also the shareholders of the company.

RequirementRequired by
At least two directors* BRELA
At least two shareholders*BRELA
Residential addresses of the directorsBRELA
Passports of directors (for foreign directors)BRELA, TRA
National ID of directors (for local directors)BRELA, TRA
Taxpayer Identification Numbers – TIN (for local directors)BRELA, TRA
Memorandum and Articles of Association (Memarts)BRELA, TRA, TTLB
Declaration of ComplianceBRELA
Integrity Pledge (Form PL5)BRELA
Company registration consolidated formBRELA
National ID of Local PersonBRELA, TRA, TTLB
Passport for ForeignerBRELA, TRA, TTLB
Motor Vehicles suitable for tour safaris (not older than 5 years, 4WD)TTLB
Cards for the Motor Vehicles with the name of the CompanyTTLB
Comprehensive Insurance for the Motor VehiclesTTLB
Vehicle inspection reportTTLB
The project’s Business Plan/Feasibility StudyTTLB
Proof of having not less than two (2) Tanzanian employeesTTLB
Lease Agreement for company officeTRA, TTLB
*NB: A company is allowed to have directors that are not shareholders and shareholders that are not directors

2. As a Partnership

By partnership here we refer to a legal relationship between two or more persons who have agreed to share capital contribution and the profits of a business carried on by all or any of them acting for all. A partnership can be formed by natural persons, corporates, or other bodies.

RequirementRequired by
At least two partnersBRELA
Residential addresses of the partnersBRELA
National ID of partnersBRELA, TRA
Taxpayer Identification Numbers – TIN (of the partners)BRELA, TRA
Partnership deepTRA, TTLB
Signed business name registration consolidated formBRELA
Motor Vehicles suitable for tour safaris (not older than 5 years, 4WD)TTLB
Cards for the Motor Vehicles with the name of the partnershipTTLB
Comprehensive Insurance for the Motor VehiclesTTLB

3. As a Proprietorship

By sole proprietorship here we refer to a business owned and operated by a single individual under the applicable laws and regulations of Tanzania. Take note that a sole proprietorship does not distinguish between the owner and the business entity; the owner is personally liable for all the business’s debts and obligations. For simplicity, we will assume that the sole proprietor is the only individual involved in the ownership and management of the business.

RequirementRequired by
Residential addresses of the proprietorBRELA
National ID of the proprietorBRELA, TRA
Signed business name registration consolidated formBRELA
Lease agreement of officeTRA
Local government introduction letterTRA
Motor Vehicles suitable for tour safaris (not older than 5 years, 4WD)TTLB
Cards for the Motor Vehicles with the name of the proprietorTTLB
Comprehensive Insurance for the Motor VehiclesTTLB

4. As a Branch of Foreign Company

A tour operator company registered outside Tanzania can open a branch in Tanzania and get certificate of compliance and the licenses. Such a branch is called foreign company in the companies act.

Procedures to Register a Tour Operator Business in Tanzania

Step 1: Register the business with BRELA

As a Company

First prepare the required details and documents mainly memarts, declaration of compliance, company details and address, directors details and addresses, shareholders details and addresses, company secretary details and address. Second create BRELA ORS account, fill the online company registration form and download it together with integrity pledge form and sign them. Third upload all the required documents mainly memarts, declaration of compliance, consolidated form, integrity pledge form, and directors passports (for foreign directors, if any) and hit the proceed button. Fourth pay the registration fee and wait the application will be auto-submitted. Read more on this in our specific article How to register a local company with BRELA ORS?

As a partnership (Business name)

For partnerships, the registration process with BRELA includes:

  1. Prepare Partnership Agreement: Draft a partnership agreement outlining the terms and responsibilities of each partner.
  2. Submit Forms and Pay Fees: Complete the necessary registration forms and pay the associated fees.
  3. Receive Certificate of Registration: BRELA will issue a Certificate of Registration once the application is approved.

As a proprietorship (Business name)

For a sole proprietorship:

  1. Submit Application: Complete and submit the registration form for a sole proprietorship.
  2. Pay Fees: Pay the registration fees required by BRELA.
  3. Obtain Certificate: Receive the Certificate of Registration upon approval.

As a Branch of Foreign Company

Step 2: Register the Business with TRA

As a company

After BRELA registration, you need to register with the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA):

  1. TIN Application: Apply for a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) for the company.
  2. Submit Company Documents: Provide the Certificate of Incorporation, Memorandum and Articles of Association, and directors’ details.
  3. Obtain TIN Certificate: TRA will issue a TIN certificate once the application is processed.

As a partnership

  1. TIN Application: Partners must apply for a TIN.
  2. Submit Required Documents: Provide the partnership agreement and other relevant documents.
  3. Receive TIN Certificate: TRA will issue a TIN certificate after approval.

As a proprietorship

  1. TIN Application: Apply for a TIN for the sole proprietor.
  2. Submit Necessary Documents: Provide the business registration certificate and other required details.
  3. Obtain TIN Certificate: Receive the TIN certificate from TRA.

As a Branch of Foreign Company

Step 3: Register the business with TTLB

This step is normally done together with step 4 related with TALA license. The application you submit for registration is the same that will be used to issue TALA license.

As a company

To operate as a tour operator, registration with the Tanzania Tourist Licensing Board (TTLB) is essential:

  1. Submit Application Form: Complete and submit the TTLB application form for tour operators.
  2. Provide Supporting Documents: Include the Certificate of Incorporation, TIN certificate, and business plan.
  3. Pay Licensing Fees: Pay the applicable fees for the tour operator license.
  4. Inspection: An inspection may be conducted by TTLB to verify your business premises.
  5. Receive License: Obtain the tour operator license upon successful application and inspection.

As a partnership

As a proprietorship

As a Branch of Foreign Company

Step 4: Apply for TALA license

As a company

As a partnership

As a proprietorship

As a Branch of Foreign Company

Step 5: Apply for business license

First thing first, don’t get confused. TALA License and Business license are not the same thing. You will need to have both TALA License and Business license.

As a company

As a partnership

As a proprietorship

As a Branch of Foreign Company

Fees and Costs to Register a Tour Operator Business in Tanzania

In Tanzania, starting a tour operator business involves navigating through various registration fees and costs. Understanding these financial requirements is crucial for aspiring entrepreneurs venturing into the tourism industry. From initial registration fees to ongoing operational expenses.

I. Documents Preparation & Lawyer Costs

The fees and costs of documentations and lawyers vary by lawyer. We can also handle the registration process for you. Our rates are reasonable and affordable. Whatsapp us now.

II. BRELA Fees for a Tour Operator Business

1. As a Company

SNCAPITAL RANGE (TZS)REG. FEEFILING FEESTAMP DUTY*TOTAL
120,000 to 1mil95,00066,0006,200167,200
21mil to 5mil175,00066,0006,200247,200
35mil to 20mil260,00066,0006,200332,200
420mil to 50mil290,00066,0006,200367,200
5More than 50mil440,00066,0006,200512,200

2. As a Partnership

3. As a Proprietorship

4. As a Branch of Foreign Company

III. TRA Taxes for Tour Operator Business

DetailsLLCProprietorship/ Partnership
Corporate income taxNIL*N/A
Personal income taxN/ANIL*
Withholding Tax on Rent (WHT)10% of office rent prepaid10% of office rent prepaid
Stamp Duty (SD)1% of annual office rent1% of annual office rent
*When you register a new business, TRA will require that you estimate your income for the respective year. This can be any amount you think the business will potentially generate over the year. Note that income doesn’t mean revenue. Under tax laws and as far as LLC is concerned, income is whatever profit that can be taxed. If you think you won’t get any profit during the first year, you can file a NIL estimate and this will not attract any tax.

IV. TALA Fees for Tour Operator

Local and foreign tour operators have distinct fee structures in Tanzania and is based on the number of vehicles they operate. For local tour operators, the annual fee varies as follows: $500 for 1-3 vehicles, $2,000 for 4-10 vehicles, $3,000 for 11-50 vehicles, and $5,000 for 51 or more vehicles. Foreign tour operators, on the other hand, have higher fees for operating in Tanzania. Their annual fees are structured as $5,000 for 10-30 vehicles, $7,500 for 31-50 vehicles, and $10,000 for fleets of 51 or more vehicles. This tiered fee system ensures that larger operators contribute more significantly to the local economy and infrastructure maintenance.

Local tour operatorsForeign tour operators
No of vehiclesAnnual fee in USDNo of vehiclesAnnual fee in USD
1-3500n/an/a
4-102,00010-305,000
11-503,00031-507,500
51+5,00051+10,000

Let say you are local and you want to get things started, so start with three vehicles. Your TALA license fee will be USD 500 for a tour operator business.

V. Business License Fees for Tour Operator

The business license fees for tour operators vary based on the ownership and currency. Local tour operators are required to pay a principal business license fee of Tshs 200,000 for their main office and if they open a branch, they need to apply and pay for subsidiary license fee of Tshs 200,000. In contrast, foreign-owned tour operators are subject to higher fees, with both the principal and subsidiary business license fees tagged at USD $1,000. This differentiation in licensing fees reflects the higher costs imposed on foreign businesses operating within the local market.

Other Considerations for Successful Tour Operator Business

When opening a tour operator business in Tanzania, there are several other considerations beyond registration fees and costs that aspiring entrepreneurs must take into account. From obtaining necessary permits and licenses to understanding local regulations and cultural sensitivities, navigating these factors is essential for a successful venture. Additionally, factors such as marketing strategies, customer service standards, and sustainable tourism practices play pivotal roles in shaping the long-term success and reputation of the business within Tanzania’s diverse and dynamic tourism landscape.

I. Insuring a Tour Operator Business

By implementing a robust insurance strategy, tour operators can shield themselves from liabilities and ensure the continuity of their operations. From liability coverage to asset protection, there’s a range of insurance solutions available to address the specific needs of tour operators. Let’s take a closer look at these insurance options and how they can benefit tour operator enterprises.

  1. Workers’ compensation insurance: Provides coverage for medical treatment, disability, and death benefits if an employee is injured or dies due to work-related reasons.
  2. Property insurance: Essential for businesses, covering equipment, signage, inventory, and furniture in cases of fire, storm, or theft, regardless of ownership or leasing status.
  3. Business interruption insurance: Covers damages caused by catastrophes that significantly impact the ability to work and generate regular revenue, though optional for small businesses.
  4. Home-based businesses: Additional insurance should be sought from the insurance company to protect home-based operations.
  5. Vehicle insurance: Third-party insurance is essential to cover the security of legal passengers in the vehicle, while comprehensive insurance is optional.
  6. Professional liability insurance: Protects against negligence claims resulting from mistakes or failure to perform, causing harm.

Related Content

Tourism Business in Tanzania: Travel Agency



Published by Kessy Juma

Kessy Juma

Kessy Juma is the founder of Miamia Trading Company (miamiatz). He is a Techpreneur with roots in accountancy. He believes that any business is good as long it caters the right market using the right strategy.

miamia miamia miamia miamia


Published by Kessy Juma

Kessy Juma Kessy Juma is the founder of Miamia Trading Company (miamiatz). He is a Techpreneur with roots in accountancy. He believes that any business is good as long it caters the right market using the right strategy.

miamia miamia miamia miamia
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