Fee Hikes At Attractions A Headache For Guides

1st April 2014
As an example, he says: “I had been quoted R80 per person for a two- to three-hour walk at Storms River Mouth. Then late last year the entrance fees were changed to R180 per person, irrespective of the amount of time we were to be there. This created an uproar among the guides who had already quoted. After explaining to [Storms River] that they had quoted me differently last year, they were not concerned and said we had to pay the new rate.”

Theron says he had no choice but to go back to his group and ask for additional money. “I was not happy about doing this and they were not happy paying the extra, but I was not going to take the money out of my pocket.”

Rob Hetem of Tamrich Tours says there is a marked trend to exclude activities from an itinerary and believes there are two reasons for this. Either the client is very price sensitive or the tour operator does not want to take the risk of the incorrect costing of activities and bear the brunt of the ensuing complaints.

Hetem says: “We have a policy of honouring the price we quote but it is a really hard line to follow because of shady pricing policies of some suppliers who  whimsically increase or do not honour contracted prices at any time, depending on how they see their demand. Our industry as a whole needs to rediscover a client-centric approach – if it’s not good for the client, it’s not good for the industry!”

However, not all tour operators are experiencing this. Tours du Cap, says owner, Francoise Armour, has not had any problems with rates changing. She says SANParks’ annual increase is fairly well-known and that Table Mountain and most other Cape Town attractions give advance notice. “I have heard people complain about entrance fees, especially tour guides, but that’s because they don’t keep up with what’s happening – social media and newsletters would keep them in the loop,” she adds.

Sourced from Tourism Update: Today's News Chana Boucher
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