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Foreign tourists may be subject to $1 surcharge

Released at: 14:35, 13/06/2017

Foreign tourists may be subject to $1 surcharge

Illustrative image (Source: antoangiaothong.gov.vn)

Proposal made to NA to fund tourism development fund.

by Nhi Linh

Draft amendments to the Law on Tourism submitted to the National Assembly on June 19 include a proposal to impose a $1 surcharge on all foreign tourists coming to the country.

The tourism development fund has been the subject of much discussion recently, with other resources such as the surcharge perhaps being used to fund it, according to the Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA).

Mr. Vu The Binh, Vice Chairman of VITA, said the major goal of the fund is promoting tourism but it needs proper funding and management.

Many regional countries impose a $1 surcharge on foreign tourists, he went on, and introducing the surcharge does not increase hotel room rates or burden tourism enterprises. But such a proposal won’t be easy to introduce, as it runs counter to the Law on Fees and Charges.

If the surcharge was imposed, the tourism development fund would receive extra funding of $8 million to $9 million each year.

The fund’s current budget is around $2 million annually, or 2.9 per cent of the similar fund in Thailand, 2.5 per cent of Singapore’s and 1.9 per cent of Malaysia’s, said Mr. Pham Manh Cuong, Deputy General Secretary of the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents (VISTA).

Other countries that impose fees and taxes on foreign tourists use the funds for tourism promotion, he pointed out, adding that in Japan, depending on the category of hotel room, tourists pay $1 or $2 extra each night.

Some countries, such as Malaysia and Myanmar, are planning to impose taxes on tourists, based on the number of nights they stay and the category of hotel.  

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism estimated that foreign tourist arrivals in May reached 972,844, a 9.2 per cent decline compared to April but up 26.8 per cent year-on-year. In the first five months, the figure is estimated at over 5.25 million, an increase of 29.6 per cent year-on-year.

The tourism development fund is contained in the Law on Tourism 2005 and its establishment was approved by the Prime Minister last August. The State budget will initially provide between VND200 billion ($8.8 million) and VND300 billion ($13.2 million).

International visitors to Vietnam last year were estimated at over 10 million by the General Statistics Office (GSO), a 26 per cent increase against 2015 and double the number in 2010.

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