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Business group denounces  tourist visa tax move

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Posted 03/09/2019

Panama’s Chamber of Commerce, (Cciap), has come out strongly in opposition to a draft law on  “incentives to airlines in Panama ”, and  a  proposal to create a tourist visa tax.

“ This Chamber promotes tourism as one of the potential sectors to reactivate the economy given its multiplier effect in other productive areas of the country, and for its ability to generate thousands of jobs," said Jorge Juan de la Guardia, president of the guild on Tuesday, September 3.

He argued that both blueprints " are detrimental to national economic development " He added that, for the businessmen's union, the draft bill proposing the creation of tolls for passengers in transit for the use of airport facilities is of concern, since “ this type of tax would scare off those who use the Tocumen International Airport, hub reducing the country's competitiveness . "

The Cciap considers that the proposed draft “ ignores the success so far obtained by the air operations center established in the main airport of the country, a product of Panama's open skies policy and the effort made by the Panamanian private sector, especially of the airlines ”.

“ Panama has a successful connection center in the region; however, it is not the only one. We compete with Miami, Mexico, San Salvador, Bogotá, and Lima, to name a few that do not charge any type of traffic tax through their airports. These, as soon as they know of this possible toll, will be ready to celebrate it and attract those passengers who chose ours, ”said de la Guardia.

He believes  the other air centers will subtract traffic to Panama, “ which translates into a decrease in flights to Panama and, consequently, the reduction of vital jobs in the tourism sector ."

The Chamber also strongly rejects the project that proposes the creation of a tourist visa tax. " Increasing the cost of visiting a country for tourism represents the difference between coming to Panama or another destination such as Costa Rica, The Dominican Republic or Colombia, which do not impose visas on their tourists ."

“ Tourism is an industry that is managed through product and marketing, so these legislative proposals will negatively impact the initiatives that are implemented to boost the national tourism industry," said de la Guardia.

The Cciap maintains that: "more than 20 thousand jobs have been lost in the country due to the decrease in the number of tourists in recent years, we need to recover these jobs, not put them at risk ."

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/travel/business-group-denounces-tourist-visa-tax-move-1

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Threat to Panama's Air Competitiveness

A bill proposing to charge $5 for each passenger in transit was presented, whose funds, which would reach $65 million, would be given to airlines as incentives to attract more tourists to the country.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Bill 150, called "Airline Incentive Law", was presented to the National Assembly on August 26. See full initiative.

Article 2 of the Law explains that among the main objectives pursued by the law are "... 4) to strengthen Panama's positioning as the hub of the Americas where transit passengers converge with passengers arriving to stay and do tourism in Panama; 5) to offer equitable incentives to all airlines, creating an alliance with each of them to maximize the promotion of Panama as a tourist and investment destination; 6) to charge transit passengers a toll amount for the use of airport facilities."

You may be interested in "Tender for Airspace Design Cancelled

Luis Felipe De Oliveira, Executive Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association, told Prensa.com that "... The proposed transit passenger tax will make Panama less competitive as a hub, reduce passengers and flights, and will negatively affect tourism and the important economic contributions generated by aviation to the country. In short, the negative effect of this new charge would be much greater than any benefit'."

For Freddy Rodriguez, president of the Panama Airlines Association, "... The country cannot afford to reverse what has been achieved in recent years and lose its competitiveness."

 

https://www.centralamericadata.com/en/article/main/Threat_to_Panamas_Air_Competitiveness

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Any additional taxes on tourists, airfares, or airport landings will be a huge mistake, imo. Panama needs to stay competitive in those areas.

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