Maldives tourism revenue gets a boost from new tax

TOURISM receipts for the year in the Maldives will be three to four times more than previous estimates because of the tourism goods and services tax (GST) instituted in January (TTG Asia e-Daily, May 26), according to President Mohamed Nasheed.

“Previously, we estimated that the Maldives’ tourism receipts for the year would be around US$700 million, but since we started collection in January of the 3.5 per cent tourism GST, it has come to light that the figure will be around US$2.5 to three billion,” Nasheed said last Friday, during a meeting with media and tourism industry leaders.

Secretary general of the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry, Sim Mohamed Ibrahim, suggested that the new figures were overly-optimistic, “as a lot of it is guesstimate”.

“Tourism income varies depending on season, occupancy and volume of business,” he explained.

“If they (the government) are projecting the figures from January to March (the Maldives high season) for the rest of 2011, the figure will be very rosy. It may be a few years before we can calculate this accurately.”

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