Q COSTA RICA NEWS – Arguing that they would “give muscle” to the state in managing the sector, a bill, presented by several legislators, aims to create the Ministry of Tourism. The proposal around the suspicion of the private sector that would lead to more bureaucracy in the tourism sector.
Costa Rica’s tourism sector is managed by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT), often referred to as the ministry of tourism. However, the ICT is a government agency funded with a direct tax on tourism.
The private sector is concerned that the proposed bill to create a Ministry of Tourism to operate alongside the current ICT, will mean that State funds that are used to promote the country as a tourist destination will be diverted.
The initiative furthermore suggests creating a Tourism Advisory Council (Consejo Consultivo de Turismo in Spanish), which would include private and public participation, and a Joint Advisory Council of Small and Medium Enterprises Consejo Asesor Mixto de la Pequeña y Mediana Empresa (Consejo Asesor Pyme) and various ministries and business chambers, and integrating the Minister of Tourism into the Governing Council of the Development Banking System (Ministro de Turismo en el Consejo Rector del Sistema de Banca para el Desarrollo ‘SBD’ in Spanish).
According to Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) legislator and chairman of the Special Permanent Committee on Tourism, Luis Vasquez, told La Nacion that the proposal is to give the tourism sector muscle, explaining that other ministries would have the obligation to check with Tourism on things. Currently no other ministries have such an obligation.
“What is sought it is to give muscle to the public sector of tourism, as currently other ministries have no obligation to check some things. This was said yesterday by the Christian Socialist deputy and chairman of the Special Permanent Committee on Tourism, Luis Vasquez,” reported Nacion.com.
The ICT is currently funded with a 5% tax on airline tickets sold in Costa Rica and a US$15 tax on arrivals by air through tickets purchased abroad, the latter replacing the 3% sales tourism tax (in addition to the 13% sales tax) on hotel rooms.
The head of the ICT, referred to the Minister of Tourism, Mauricio Ventura, said: “The bill for the creation of a Ministry of Tourism has not been officially presented (to the legislature) or consulted to the ICT, so we can not refer to it.”
Source La Nacion