The Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) has been given full authority to collect taxes from consumers of tourism services for the betterment of the tourism sector and contributing to the growth of the countryâ€™s economy.
This was revealed by the Corporation during a media briefing this week where it stated that the Tourism Levy will start on July 1, 2022.
On February 2021, the government of Lesotho made a gazette for tourism levy that gives the LTDC full authority and control to collect taxes from the consumers of the tourism services.
LTDC has been given full authority by the Tourism Act of 2002 which states the Authority shall, acting under the guidance of the Tourism Levy Committee, administer and collect tourism levy.
According to LTDCâ€™s Head of Finance and Administration, Maurice Thetso Thamae, the Lesotho Tourism Levy is a charge paid by tourists for specific travel and tourism services offered in Lesotho 50% of which will be used for development and maintenance of tourism products and facilities.
â€œThe funds will be used for the installation of tourism signage, building capacity of tourism enterprises, marketing of destinations in Lesotho and the training of front liners in the tourism industry,â€ he said.
Thamae said they have consulted with relevant stakeholders in the tourism industry on how the levy will be collected so that they all find a mutual ground that will involve everyone.
He indicated that, most countries in the Southern African region are already using the tourism levy.
According to the act, a person who fails to pay tourism levy as prescribed by the regulations commits an offence and is liable on conviction to an instant penalty of M10 000.00.
â€œA person who fails to comply with sub-regulation (1) or (4) commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding M10 000.00 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both,â€ the Act reads.
According to LTDC, as of July 1, 2022, tourists as well as tourism consumers will start paying 5% on top of the actual amount they pay for services.
Furthermore, the accommodation facilities, tourism attraction sites, events, tour operators and travel agents will start collecting tax and bringing it to LTDC.
The Tourism Act of 2002 was amended in 2006 to craft regulations that will govern the implementation and collection of Tourism Levy. The said regulations were developed after consultations with the Tourism Business Operators across the country and Tourism Levy Regulations 2021 which were published on Lesotho Government Gazette, Vol. 66, No. 19 on February 26, 2021.