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Plan for 10% tourism levy booster

Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs plans to introduce a 10 percent tourism levy from April next year, up from one percent.

This is in an attempt to boost the marketing of KZN for tourism and “create a war chest to attract major events”.

Tourists from Germany join traditional healers in a dance during a visit to Inanda, north of Durban. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

The levy of one percent, which is collected by Tourism Levy South Africa, is collected from accommodation venues, restaurants, car rental and tour-booking companies, and contributes towards SA Tourism’s international marketing of the country.

Explaining how the proposed new levy would affect patrons, the department’s spokesperson, Bheko Madlala, said, for example, that on the original price paid for a meal in a restaurant, 10 percent would be added for the levy.

That money would go to SA Tourism for marketing that focused mainly on KZN.

Tourism MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu said the department would consult stakeholders on the levy.

He said there were case studies on the concept where a support fund existed to help bid for events, including in Glasgow, Vienna, Sydney, Barcelona, Singapore, Toronto and San Francisco.

“In these destinations, there is a very strong partnership between the public and the private sector.”

Mabuyakhulu said the province was mainly funding bid initiatives directly, through allocations shared between the province and respective municipalities, mostly eThekwini.

Charles Preece, a spokesman for the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa East Coast region, said they had not received a proposal and that commenting about it now would be premature.

DA tourism spokesman James Vos said they were against the initiative, “as we believe that levies must be uniform and standardised”.

He said KZN must use the funds from the existing system to develop tourism infrastructure, instead of increasing tourism levies.

At the latest annual meeting for the 2013 financial year, Tourism Levy South Africa chairman Franco Jordaan announced that the levy contributed R104-million to South African Tourism.

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