Freeman Cebu Business

Tourism execs laud plans to abolish travel tax

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - If the government will be true to its word to abolish travel tax then more Filipinos will be able to travel and explore destinations abroad, tourism executives enthused.

Cebu Association of Tour Operators (CATO) president Edilberto Mendoza Jr., said unlike in the past when traveling overseas is considered only as a privilege that can only be enjoyed by those who can afford, today travel has become a ‘right’.

Apart from the affordable fare rates offered by airlines, mainly driven by competition, the government's move to scrap the travel tax for outbound travels will give the traveling market a big boost.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) recently announced its plan to possibly remove or reduce the travel tax to make traveling more affordable and convenient for Filipinos.

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.

Those exempted from paying travel tax are overseas Filipino workers, Filipinos with permanent residency abroad staying in the Philippines for less than a year and infants less than two years old.

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).

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 took effect last July 25, 2016.

Robert Lim Joseph, who currently serves as the DOT consultant said, that the government will be able to avoid charging the travel tax to everyone who leaves the Philippines, it will lighten the expenses of travelers, especially Filipinos who are saving for travel escapades whether to explore other countries for experience, vacation, and simply fun.

The United Nations World Travel Organization (UNWTO) identified Filipinos as one of the fastest growing travel spenders among emerging markets in 2013.

UNWTO said the Philippines’ outbound expenditure grew 18 percent in 2012, second highest in the list of top travel spenders following Turkey, which registered a 24 percent growth. (FREEMAN)

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