Maldives govt defends guesthouse Green Tax

A guesthouse in the southernmost atoll Addu.

A guesthouse in the southernmost atoll Addu.

The Maldives government insisted Monday that the recently implemented Green Tax of USD 3 charged from tourists at guesthouses will prove beneficial to the guesthouse industry in the long run.

Speaking to reporters on a trip to airport island Hulhule to explain developments to the bridge being constructed between Hulhule and capital Male, tourism minister Moosa Zameer said tourists prefer environments, such as resorts, where they can enjoy the Maldives islands barefoot. However, he noted that unlike resorts, islands can only provide such surroundings with the protection of their beaches and other delicate environments.

“Looking at this angle, [charging Green Tax from guesthouses] has benefits,” he said.

The minister disclosed that the tourism ministry is in talks with the environment ministry regarding projects to protect beaches and other environmental issues. The Green Tax charged from tourists, he declared, will be profitable when used to cover the expenses of these projects.

“It will not harm the guesthouse industry,” he assured.

The Green Tax was introduced last November and is charged from tourists staying at resorts, hotels and safari cruises at a daily rate of USD 6. The tax, which is charged from all expatriates in the Maldives except those with resident visas, came into effect for guesthouses last Saturday at a daily rate of USD 3.

According to MIRA’s statistics released last month, Green Tax had brought in a revenue of USD 27 million in August.

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