By Matebeleland North Correspondent
VICTORIA Falls Municipality is planning to introduce a tourism levy where tour operators will be expected to pay $1 for each visitor booking with them either for accommodation or activities in the resort town.
Town Clerk Ronnie Dube said funds raised through the tax would be used for infrastructure development.
However, tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira said it was folly for council to demand a levy from tour operators who are already paying rates.
“The tourism levy is for development and not for cleaning,” she said.
“Operators pay rates to council and we can’t have them paying an extra charge.
“The local authority is mandated by government to develop infrastructure which is why they collect rates, even from the same operators they want to charge.”
This is not the first time the local authority has made the proposal. In 2013 the municipality proposed charging a levy on tourists visiting the rainforest to raise revenue for infrastructure development in the resort town.
Meanwhile, Victoria Falls residents have been calling for free entry into Rainforest, saying they cannot afford to pay $7 entry fees for locals.
The complaint has been at various platforms where residents have argued that they were not benefitting from the resource yet it’s their God-given wonder.
Minister Mupfumira said government is considering allowing locals free access into the Rainforest as a way of promoting domestic tourism.
“I support the idea and agree with locals,” she said.
“People living in Victoria Falls must have a chance to visit the Rainforest freely or pay a small fee because this is their resource.”