Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Myanmar to start collecting tourism tax

Myanmar will soon impose a tourism tax on visitors to fund the country’s tourism promotion activities, the Myanmar Tourism Federation (MTF) said.

Its chairman U Yan Win said this was decided by the tourism development committee during a meeting with the hotels and tourism ministry on April 26 in Nay Pyi Taw.

He said the committee decided that tourists, even visitors here with a business visa, would have to pay US$1 each per night when they stay at hotels or guest houses.

“This is one way to raise money for our tourism promotion budget without having to rely on government funds.

“I think it will take about six months for the government to approve it and to go through the procedure before imposing the new tax.

“The ministry will have to draft a law, which will then be submitted to the State Counsellor for approval,” he said on Saturday.

U Yan Win said other countries in ASEAN and around the world also imposed similar taxes on visitors.

He said the tax would only be imposed on short-term visits.

“Tourists usually stay for a week. Some visit for two weeks.

“We have not thought about those who are here for longer period, like those who are here to work,” he said.

MTF applied for government funding in previous years to support its tourism promotion programs but never received much due to the government’s foreign currency requirement.

Last year, MTF’s tourism market committee applied for $30 million from the hotels and tourism ministry to fund its tourism promotion exercises.

The application was rejected as there were more important sectors, compared to tourism, to channel funds.