Govt Defends Hotel Tax On Foreign Tourists

The Zimbabwean government has defended a 15% tax on hotel accommodation for foreign tourists which was introduced early this year, saying it was a norm in the region.

When addressing a parliamentary committee on Monday, permanent secretary for the ministry of finance, Willard Manungo said the government had collected US$1,65 million from the tax in the first quarter of 2015.

The tourism sector has criticised the levy, arguing that it makes Zimbabwe an expensive tourism destination and in turn is likely to affect the sector.

However, Manungo defended the levy, saying it was not unique to Zimbabwe as all countries in southern Africa, except Zambia, have such a tax.

He said the government was aware of the important role the tourism sector plays in efforts to resuscitate the economy and had extended a number of tax concessions to the sector to support its recovery.

The concessions included a rebate on capital goods and motor vehicles for the tourism sector, he said.

“In 2014 we have foregone over US$2 million in terms of duty that would have been paid by the tourism sector,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s tourism industry is trying to recover from a decade of decline due to negative publicity that the country received from Western media.

The country last year saw 1,88 million tourist arrivals, a 2,6% increase from 2013, earning US$827 million in tourism receipts.

However, recent years’ tourist arrivals remain below the 1999 peak of 2,2 million.

Nampa-Xinhua

Source : The Namibian