Tourism June 16, 2023 | 4:39 pm

Withdrawal of tourist card payment would only be for Dominicans

Santo Domingo.- More than half of tourists visiting the Dominican Republic, specifically 53.1%, discovered the country through recommendations from friends. These travelers then planned their trip, packed their bags, and purchased air tickets, generating significant revenue for the state. From January to April 2023, the tourism industry reported tax revenues of RD$5 billion related to tourist activities, according to the Dominican Central Bank (BC).

The largest portion of this revenue, around 64%, came from the tax on departing passengers through airports and ports, amounting to RD$3 billion. The tax on departing passengers by land contributed RD$95.7 million. Additionally, the Tourist Card, a fee of US$10 (RD$547) paid by foreigners entering the country for leisure purposes, collected RD$1.8 billion. The highest income from the Tourist Card was in February (RD$499.5 million), followed by April (RD$487.7 million), March (RD$435.7 million), and January (RD$379.2 million).

The Tourist Card, established by Law 199-67, exempts national and foreign passengers residing in the country, thanks to Resolution 217-2022, which mandates modifications to the computer systems of air operators.

Economist Henry Hebrard views the decision to eliminate the tax burden as a fair and sound practice in the short and long term. He believes the impact on tax revenues will not be significant since the tax should not have been collected in the first place.

The president of the Civil Aviation Board (JAC) supports the decision as a way to relieve the Dominican diaspora from an unnecessary tax burden. These compatriots contribute significantly through remittances, amounting to US$4 billion.

David Llibre, president of the National Association of Hotels and Restaurants (Asonahores), sees the exemption for Dominicans abroad as a legal mandate and an added value for the millions of Dominicans who contribute significantly to the country’s economy through remittances.

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Paul Tierney
June 17, 2023 10:18 am

There should be no tourist card. The government gets enough revenue through tourist purchases. The tourist card has created an unnecessary government bureaucracy to administer it and forces an unwanted burden on the airlines to collect and forward the revenue to the RD.

June 17, 2023 1:16 pm

This was obvious and mentioned many times back in [2017?] when they implemented the first debacle of the e-tourist fee (now called “eticket” for some reason). It was clear that charging Nationals as part of the ticket put the burden on them to file for a reimbursement later. Since not everyone would/could be expected to go through that extra effort I’m certain it was seen as some extra revenue without calling it as such.

The whole “tourist tax” whether it be the original manual collections at the airports (with agents probably pocketing the $$), then the hugely disastrous e-rollout (delayed multiple times, website crashes, all sorts of flaws and long lines w/ people missing flights) and now trying to ‘fix’ to keep Citizens from being charged is just evidence as bad policy.

As Paul mentions, the whole program should be scrapped along with lowering taxes. If you want to improve tourist numbers coming to the DR, first step, make it less expensive to get there in the first place. Once you have the tourists on the island, they’ll spend money. But by making the cost of entry in taxes high, you lose them to places like Mexico, Aruba, Puerto Rico etc. where tickets are almost always less expensive.

Peter Harris
June 17, 2023 4:59 pm

What kind of taxes do the hotels pay ?

Paul Tierney
June 17, 2023 7:15 pm
Reply to  Peter Harris

They get perks like little or no taxes on hotel amenities, such as furniture purchased offshore.