Malawi: Tourism levy effective 1st August

malawi_ken_kandodoThe Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture says the Tourism Marketing Levy [TML] for the Tourism Industry announced by Finance Minister Ken Kandodo (pictured) as he recently presented the 2009/10 national budget in Parliament, will be effective starting August 1, 2009.

The Finance Minister disclosed that beginning this national financial year, which started on July 1, government would start collecting one percent tax on all client bills per tourism enterprise.

The Department of Tourism (DoT) in the Ministry says the levy, which has been re-introduced after its abolishment in the 2002/03 national budget statement, will help to promote Malawi as a tourism destination.

This comes at a time when the department is trying to create an effective sustainable fund for destination marketing and promote domestic tourism in line with the Strategic Tourism Marketing Plan [STMP].

According to the Ministry, the STMP will be effectively implemented if the department works closely with all players in the travel and tourism industry, including tour operators and guides, travel agents, car hire companies, event organizers, horse riding and hunting safaris, cruises, yachts and restaurants.

DoT says among others, the tax money will be used for generic tourism marketing in major source markets and building brand of the Malawi tourism product, both locally and internationally.

The Malawi Tourism Marketing Plan has identified a number of markets for Malawi to focus on. The Ministry would like to work hand in hand with all enterprises to promote the industry in the country, said DoT deputy director Sosten Lingwalanya at a stakeholders workshop recently.

The tourism department further points out that theres need for enterprises to be part of this collaborative public, private sector effort to grow Malawi tourism, which experts believe can tremendously contribute to growth of the countrys economy.

Its a very welcome development because as a country, we need to market our tourism destinations. Malawi has marketable places that have the potential to boost our economy, said Dolvic Hotel Manager, Baldwin Madinga, in an interview with Nyasa Times.

The Ministry indicates the tourism levy creates a practical means for an effective partnership between the private sector and government through the DoT.

It allows the private sector to be actively involved in the planning, strategy and implementation of Malawis tourism marketing activities.

The enterprises paying tourism levy are also expected to benefit through providing product marketing material for distribution by the DoT internationally and also are given preferential profiling on [government] tourism website.

As outlined by the DoT, it is a criminal offence and constitutes fraud if a tourism enterprise collects tourism levy from tourists and is not paid over into the Tourism Marketing Fund (TMF) within twelve days at the end of each month.

The TML in Malawi was set up to provide additional marketing funding for promoting Malawi as a tourist destination under the Tourism and Hotels Act of 1968 as amended in 2007.

Malawis major international markets include the UK, Germany, France, USA, Italy, Netherlands, China, Japan, Australia and South Africa.

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