A lawmaker has called for the introduction of a $25 travel tax on foreign visitors to help fund tourist welfare services.
Congressman Luis Raymund Villafuerte says that all tourists visiting the Philippines for less than two months should be charged the levy.
“The bill intends to build on the growth of the tourism industry in the Philippines by generating funds for the improvement of tourist welfare services in the country,” he said.
“Currently, our government imposes a travel tax on Filipinos traveling abroad without a similar imposition to foreigners traveling to the Philippines even, while neighbouring economies tax foreigners flying into their countries.”
His words came before he filed House Bill 7434, or the proposed Tourist Welfare Tax Act of 2018.
“The fixed rate of $25 is competitive with the current travel taxes that other Asian countries have set. This is mainly based on the average rates of entry and exit taxes imposed by Asian countries, such as Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Hong Kong and China,” he added.
“This is more commonly collected from travellers flying into a country, where the fee is incorporated into the airline ticket price. In this proposed bill, we follow the same standard of including the Tourist Welfare Travel tax, as it will be called, in the airfare prices, ” he said.
Under the bill, the collected fees would be used to improve services such as tourist information and assistance desks, tourism police training and special projects for disabled tourists.
Under the terms of the bill, the tax could be increased after five years to take account of inflation.
It also states that refunds can be given for those wrongly charged and tourists who spend more than $10,000 in tourism receipts.
Last year, the Department of Tourism recorded more than 6.6 million tourist arrivals in the country, an 11 per cent increase on the previous year.
The tourism industry added 2.85 trillion pesos to the economy in 2016, representing almost 20 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.