Myanmar Plans to Tax Tourism

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda

Myanmar will soon impose a tourism tax on visitors to fund the country’s tourism promotion activities, the Myanmar Tourism Federation (MTF) said.

The information about a future tourism tax has been communicated to local media by the Chairman of the Tourism Development Committee U Yan Win. The decision was taken during a meeting with the hotels and tourism ministry on April 26 in Myanmar capital city, Nay Pyi Taw.

He said that the tax is likely to be set at US$1 per person and per night for each visitor registered in hotels and guest houses. “This is one way to raise money for our tourism promotion budget without having to rely on government funds. I think it will take about six months for the government to approve it and to go through the procedure before imposing the new tax”, explained U Yan Win.

“The ministry will have to draft a law, which will then be submitted to the State Counsellor for approval,” he added.

U Yan Win said other countries in ASEAN and around the world also imposed similar taxes on visitors. Malaysia recently adopted the principle of a tourism tax, which will be implemented before the end of the year.

He said the tax would only be imposed on short-term visits. “Tourists usually stay for a week. Some visit for two weeks. We have not thought about those who are here for longer period, like those who are here to work,” told the Chairman.

Myanmar Tourism Federation, a private entity gathering most of the travel trade in the country, applied for government funding in previous years to support its tourism promotion programs. However, so far, its requests have been only partially satisfied with  small government’s budget allocation. As an example, Myanmar government refused last year a request for US$30 million for promotional purposes.