The government, through the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO), is said to be working around the clock to establish a new form of levy in the tourism sector, Sunday Standard learnt this week.
The levy which is to be known as the Tourism Development Levy is likely to be enacted through the BTO Act regulations.
The outgoing Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO), Thabo Dithebe, confirmed early last week that his organisation would soon start consultations with the tourism industry on the matter.
“I believe we are at a stage where we are working on the technical aspect of how this levy can be introduced and then of course we will go out to the industry to consult them”, Dithebe said early last week.
Sunday Standard also learnt this week that the creation of the proposed levy started off as an intention to put up an insurance cover but on consultation with the Non-Banking Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA), BTO was advised that such a product is already available in the market. The BTO management were further advised against bringing foreign companies to create such product but rather work with the already existing ones in the local market.
It is said that at this juncture, the BTO management then decided to ditch the insurance cover plan and replace it with the proposed levy.
“The intention is that any tourist coming from outside the SADC area will have to pay the US$30 upon entry into Botswana through a kiosk at the port of entry or online through the BTO website and that fund will be used to develop the products that I just indicated we need to work hard to develop,” Dithebe further said.
Dithebe further stated that ever since the BTO received instructions from the Ministry of Tourism to implement the levy, they have since advised the parent ministry that: “We actually change or add to the BTO Act regulations the fact that we are introducing the levy and that levy of course is described in there and actions that will be taken if one refuses to pay that. That has since been submitted to our ministry. We hope that it will be shared with the Attorney General and Finance before that levy can be enacted.”