Review tax on tourism, urge sector players - Daily Nation

Review tax on tourism, urge sector players

Sunday June 21 2015

Tourists at the Meru National Park. FILE PHOTO

Tourists at the Meru National Park. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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Players in the tourism industry want the government to review taxes levied on their services to help speed up recovery.

According to hoteliers, charges levied on some services are making the country as a destination compete unfairly with others offering similar products in the region.

Kenya Tourism Federation Chief Executive Officer Agatha Juma said the government should freeze some taxes as it awaits recovery.

“We are for Kenyans paying tax; all we are telling the government is that when it introduced the 16 per cent VAT on the services, tourism was already doing badly, the volumes were going down. We are telling the government to put it on hold first until the sector recovers,” said Ms Juma in Nairobi last week.

Kenya Association of Tour Operators chief executive Fred Kaigua urged the government to remove taxes imposed on park fees and conservation charges.

“The VAT levied on conservation, for instance, makes it more expensive to market the destination, especially if it is competing with a similar product from the region,” Mr Kaigua said, adding that players do not make any profit from conservation.

Hoteliers have also called on the government to lift the taxes levied on the service charges (tips), saying this subjects employees to double taxation.

Players have, however, welcomed the government’s commitment to reviving the sector but have urged that the money be used to meet short-term goals first.