AU tourist levy, VAT will compound Zimbabwe’s unattractiveness – Mzembi

AU tourist levy, VAT will compound Zimbabwe’s unattractiveness – Mzembi

By Plaxedes Sibanda, HARARE, May 18, (The Source) – A tourist levy proposed by the African Union for visitors from outside the continent could make Zimbabwe even less attractive after the southern African country’s own recently introduced 15 percent value added tax, Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said on Monday, as he continues to make a case against the VAT measure.

Mzembi has been lobbying against the 15 percent tax introduced by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa in January 2015.

Mzembi said the African Union has a tax proposal of US$12 on tourists who will be visiting Africa.

“They (AU) are proposing to tax an additional $10 on flights to and from African countries and $2 hotel room in Africa-altogether $12. Whilst we are debating this 15 percent (VAT) there is also another continental levy that is coming,” Mzembi told the parliament committee on tourism.

“I am suggesting we do an incremental route where we will start at five percent going to full blown 15 percent because the sector cannot absorb the 15 percent outright.”

Mzembi also described the Victoria Falls municipality’s rate increase for tourism operators by at least 400 percent as ‘sheer madness.’

The Victoria Falls municipality increased the rates by up to 650 percent in its 2015 budget, which will see tourism businesses paying around $15,000 monthly from $3,000.

“Any levy in the review of 650 percent is the sheer madness, because it does not keep business going,” Mzembi said.