Kenyan hoteliers say high taxes may slow tourism

NAIROBI: Kenya’s tourism and hospitality stakeholders on Monday called on the government to lower taxes and levies in the tourism industry to help attract more domestic visitors and recreate jobs for the youth.
Hasnain Noorani, chairman of Kenya Coast Working Group, an umbrella organization of tourism stakeholders, said the sector which has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic risks extreme revenue drop unless taxes and levies at the national and county levels are harmonized.
“The government needs to reduce too much burden on the hospitality and tourism sector. Kenya risks losing business if prices offered are way above our neighboring competitors for instance Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and other countries,” Noorani said in a joint statement.
Currently, tourism establishments are paying the statutory 14 percent Value Added Tax and an extra two percent tourism levy to the Tourism Fund.
They also pay for business permits, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) permit, liquor license at the county level, health and advertising among other permits.
“We don’t have a problem with paying levies since we have to support the government in its endeavors to deliver service. However, some licenses and fees imposed on the industry are a bit punitive. We would appreciate it if some of these licenses were traded off for levies,” said Noorani.
The east African nation’s tourism industry which was once mainly sustained by international visitors, is repositioning itself to appeal to the domestic marketplace in the face of COVID-19.–Agencies