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Parliament votes against imposing 'Tourism Covid-19 Tax' on tourists

Nafaahath Ibrahim
17 June 2020, MVT 20:28
A photograph taken during the parliamentary sitting held in the early hours of June 2, 2020. PHOTO/PARLIAMENT
Nafaahath Ibrahim
17 June 2020, MVT 20:28

The Parliament on Wednesday passed a motion to not impose any additional taxes or fees from tourists who visit Maldives once borders open in July.

When the first draft of 'Maldives Safe Tourism Guideline' was presented for the Parliament's advice by the Tourism Ministry and forwarded to the Economic Affairs Committee for review, the Committee passed to take USD 8 per night as 'Tourism Covid-19 Tax' from each tourist.

The guideline includes procedures to be followed upon entry into Maldives, as well as procedures for tourism establishments to follow when a symptomatic case arises.

However, during Wednesday's sitting, members who debated on the amendments by the Committee did not approve of taking the additional tax. Therefore, tourists will have only to pay fees and taxes that were collected pre-pandemic.

As per the members, taking additional taxes from tourists may have more negative impacts on the tourism industry, which is already suffering due to the measures taken to combat the global pandemic.

Parliament representative for North-Hithadhoo constituency of Addu Atoll Mohamed Aslam proposed an amendment that cancels out the USD 8 fee. His amendment also asked to dismiss any additional fees or taxes that were not taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to this, MP Aslam also proposed to make arrangements for tourists so that they are not required to be quarantined upon arrival.

With 55 members present at the time, voting in favour, the report was passed with these amendments.

Following this, Speaker of Parliament, former President Mohamed Nasheed assured that he would request President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih not to collect any additional taxes from tourists.

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