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DOT eyes removal of travel tax

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Tourism (DOT) is looking into the possibility of removing or at least reducing the travel tax to make traveling more affordable and convenient for Filipinos.

Tourism Undersecretary for Advocacy and Public Affairs Katherine De Castro told The STAR over the weekend that the DOT is reviewing the country’s travel tax system to determine if it could scrap or lower the travel tax imposed on individuals who are leaving the country.

“It still needs a lot of review. Not right now, definitely, you know it’s an ambitious part from the end of the DOT,” De Castro said in a phone interview.

“Traveling in the Philippines is not cheap. If we can’t remove it (travel tax) totally, we want to at least lower it,” she added.

Airline passengers departing from the Philippines are levied a travel tax of P1,620 for economy class passage and P2,700 for first class passage.

Half of the proceeds from travel tax collections go to the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), 40 percent to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and 10 percent to the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA).

“We’re looking at the fact that a percentage of the travel tax goes to CHED, which is in no way connected to traveling at all,” De Castro said.

The DOT’s review of the travel tax system has so far led to the removal of the P200 processing fee charged for the issuance of certificates of Travel Tax Exemption and Reduced Travel Tax, which is effective today, July 25.

 In the meantime, De Castro said the DOT and its attached agency, TIEZA, are also working on how the travel tax can be incorporated in airline tickets.

“Basically, that’s what we’re doing right now, to have it (travel tax) incorporated in all airline tickets regardless if you are a national carrier or a low cost airline,” she said.

According to De Castro, some airlines still have not included the travel tax within their ticket charges.

“It’s inconvenient in such a way that you think you’re already checked in, but in fact, you are not, so you would still have to line up in another booth to pay for your travel tax,” she said. - MGP

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