Botswana has introduced the Tourism Development Levy (TDL) despite resistance from the Hospitality and Tourism Association that resulted in its withdrawal last year.
The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, through the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) last week announced that it was introducing the levy to raise funds for conservation and national tourism development.
Effective June this year, all non-Sadc visitors entering Botswana will be required to pay $30 tourism levy at the point of entry. “The levy is purposed to support the growth of the industry and broaden the tourism base, resultantly improving the lives of the people of Botswana,” BTO said in a statement.
The Tourism Statistics Annual Report for 2015 shows that from the 1,661 million visitors who entered Botswana in that year, 11.4 percent (190 000) were from non-Sadc countries. A back of the envelope calculation shows that at $30 per person government is likely to accrue around $5.7 million (P60 million) per annum through the levy. According to BTO, non-Sadc visitors can pay the levy at the point of entry through electronic payment machines, cash, debit or credit card.
“After payment, a special receipt corresponding to the passport will be automatically generated. The receipt should then be presented to immigration officials and the passport and receipt will then be handed to the traveller. “The receipt is valid for a 30 days period and can be used for multiple entries. The funds will be used to develop more tourism products,” BTO said.
Tourism is Botswana’s second largest foreign exchange earner and contributes significantly to employment and economic growth.