HCMC kills hotel night tax

HO CHI MINH CITY, 16 October 2017: A proposal to tax tourists for every overnight stay to raise funds to promote the city, worldwide, failed to gain traction with authorities.

Tourists will be happy with the decision to scotch a plan to tax them, as one of the main drawcards for Ho Chi Minh City is its competitive prices when compared with Bangkok and other capitals in the region.

The city’s tourism department that floated the idea was singled out for stiff criticism with officials noting it was a very “sensitive’ topic.”

According to a report in Tuoi Tre newspaper, Tran Vinh Tuyen, the city’s vice chairman, confirmed the city has no intention of considering such a tax.

“The tourism department’s director has also been criticised for “making proposals on sensitive topics that affect the tourism environment,” the newspaper said. There was even speculation that it would not bode well for the director’s future career path.

On the surface the proposal was moderate in nature, proposing that tourists pay just USD1 a night on top of the hotel rate.

The tax would have been spent on promotional campaigns possibly overseas paying for advertising spots on global TV channels and also on staff training.

Tourism officials said the request followed the revised Tourism Law, which takes effect next January and includes a new national tourism development fund that will draw cash for national marketing from the state budget, visa fees and entrance tickets.

Earlier this year, the tourism ministry proposed a similar tax to be imposed on foreign tourists staying in local hotels nationwide. That too was rejected.

Ho Chi Minh City attracted 5.2 million foreign visitors and 21.8 million Vietnamese in 2016, up around 10% from the year before. It generated VND103 trillion (USD4.5 billion) in revenue an increase of 9% over 2015

(Source: VN Express and Tuoi Tre News)