LTDC introduces Tourism Levy

LTDC introduces Tourism Levy
LTDC introduces Tourism Levy

Africa-Press – Lesotho. Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) has announced its plans to add taxation on tourism activities such as visits on cultural and heritage facilities and events effective from July 1.LTDC Head Finance and Administration Morris Thetso Thamae explained that the government of Lesotho has officially given LTDC responsibility to manage and collect “Tourism Levy”.

The government had in February 2021 introduced tourism levy gazette. Thamae said tourism levy will be paid by tourists or visitors for specific travel and tourism services offered in Lesotho.

“Just like other countries, the government of Lesotho saw a need to have tourism levy so that it can be used in the development of the tourism sector,” he said.

Thamae further said tourism levy is going to be used in the development and maintenance of tourism products and facilities as well as to market local tourism products.

It will also be used for capacitating tourism enterprises such as accommodation facilities, places of attraction and infrastructure developments like construction of roads to such places.

Thamae said from July 1, accommodation facilities owners, attraction sites owners and event organizers are expected to start collecting tax. “My team is already meeting with different stakeholders and we will travel across the 10 districts selling this idea to those responsible.

This initiative will accelerate efforts to boost the economy through tourism sector,” he said. LTDC Tourism Levy Officer ‘Masalang Khasake explained that the tourism levy will be 5% and 50% of the collection will be used mostly on development of private sector.

“The tourism levy is going to help in improving our tourism industry or our tourism activities because some of the things we were not able to do due to lack of funds,” she said.

She noted that once the tourism levy is collected, it is not going to be controlled by the government but there will be an account opened by LTDC where all the funds will be deposited and there is a committee to manage the levy.

LTDC Public Relations Manager ‘Manchafalo Motšoeneng said people need to understand that tourism levy is a charge paid by a tourist for the services they will be getting while visiting a certain place of attraction and it is not paid by the owner of the business.

She further said it is also for the benefit of tourism development, and thus a chance for tourists to practice “responsible tourism” by contributing in the development of tourism sector.

Meanwhile, LTDC held the first workshop for Maseru tourism facilities owners, on Friday, where they shared their views. Molengoane Lodge Director ‘Mamothe Mohapi said they are excited about the tourism levy because they have been waiting for the longest time.

She, however said the percentage is too high for a developing country
“I did my research on tourism levy in other countries with high economy and I found out that theirs is 1% to 2%. Why is it that our country has put levy of 5% while we are just a developing country with low economy?” she questioned.

Mohapi said she foresee closure of many tourism attraction places and accommodations because of this large increment that is going to occur in their prices and she pleaded with the government together with LTDC to go back and revise the 5%

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