Botswana has stopped the introduction of a $30 tourism development levy.
Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Permanent Secretary, Jimmy Opelo, said the proposed levy had been withdrawn to allow the government more time to consult the industry. “This withdrawal will enable the Ministry and the Botswana Tourism Organisation to conduct further engagement with various stakeholders.”
The tourism levy was intended to sustain tourism facilities. It will be resubmitted to parliament after thorough consultation with the tourism industry and in accordance with established procedure. The Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB) had strongly criticised the lack of consultation during the drafting of the levy.
HATAB CEO, Lily Rakorong, told The Southern Times that there was need to reconsider the name of the levy, proposing ‘entry levy’ instead of ‘tourism development levy’. She further called on management of the levy to be handled by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Planning under the Consolidated Fund to ensure that there is accountability and transparency.
The collection of the levy had been contracted out to a UK-based company by the Botswana Tourism Organisation. The company was supposed to collect $30 from tourists at some designated points of entry. The Botswanan government was to take $12 while the UK-based company would receive the lion’s share at $18.