Victoria Falls council to tax individual tourists

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FOREIGN tourists, who must shell out $40 to get into the Victoria Falls national park, will now have to give the local authority a dollar each to help the council pay off government debt.
A world heritage site, the Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls and rivalled only by Argentina and Brazil’s Iguazu Falls in height and width.
However Zimbabwe must compete with Zambia for visitors to the resort since it is located on the border between the two countries.
And in news likely to worry the local tourism industry, the town council has confirmed it would introduce a levy to be charged on individual tourists to help pay off debts.
According to online news Agency The Source, the local authority owes the government about $4 million for refurbishing infrastructure ahead of the World Tourism Organisation’s 20th General Assembly held in the town last year.
In addition, the council also owes the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) its pension fund and other utilities over $6 million.
Town clerk Christopher Dube told The Source council would introduce a tourism tax — a dollar for every foreign visitor to the resort town — despite opposition from tour operators.
“The supplementary budget is going to see some major increases in rates and service for the industry,” said Dube.
“We owe the government $4 million which we got as a loan to rehabilitate infrastructure… We are failing to repay that loan.
“We are going ahead with the project. We need to raise revenue from somewhere.”Advertisement