By Macharia Kamau
Nairobi,Kenya:The tourism industry has joined calls for withdrawal of the proposed VAT Bill warning that it risks slowing down the sector’s growth and new investments.
Tour operators and hoteliers say also say the government should treat tourism like an export industry and ensure that tax measures does not make the country an expensive destination in the coming years and put them at a disadvantage with competition when marketing Kenya in the tourist source markets.
At the moment, the Tour operation and travel agency services are among the over 400 items that are tax-exempt.
The VAT Bill proposes to revoke this exemption and require tour operators to register for and charge VAT.
Transportation of tourists, which is currently VAT-exempt, will also now attract VAT.
“The Government should retain the current exemptions for tour operators, travel agencies and transportation of tourists by any means. This will give the industry time to recover and stabilise,” said Kenya Association of Tour Operators Fred Kaigua.