Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Beware tourist taxes, Africa warned

CONCERNS about the negative impact of a tourism tax on air passengers and hotel guests – currently being discussed by members of the African Union – have been expressed by Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

Tourism is one of the main contributors to Africa’s balance of payments, a source of livelihood for millions, and one of the sectors where the region has a major competitive advantage in international markets.

‘A tourism tax in Africa is a threat to the competiveness of the region and to all African economies which increasingly have tourism as a key pillar to their development,’ said Mr Rifai. ‘Any decision on the possible imposition of a tourism tax in Africa should be carefully evaluated as to the negative impact it will have on tourism demand, economic growth and jobs’.

International tourism in Africa has been growing steadily in recent years. In 2013, Africa received 56 million tourists, up from 26 million in 2000. International tourism generates US$34 billion (£20.22 billion) in exports in Africa, accounting for seven percent of all exports.

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