Tourism June 20, 2024 | 8:59 am

Haydée Rainieri advocates for readjustment of Tourism Incentives Law

Santo Domingo.- Haydée Kuret de Rainieri, a board member of Grupo Puntacana, emphasized the critical role of Law 158-01 for the Promotion of Tourism Development in fostering the growth of the tourism sector in the Dominican Republic.

Kuret de Rainieri acknowledges that tax reform is imminent but believes that certain aspects of the law need “readjustment” rather than a complete overhaul, as reported by Diario Libre.

“What is happening with the tourism industry? We are accused of having an incentive law. Incentive law? No, no: it is a law of competitiveness,” she asserted.

To illustrate her point, she noted that paying taxes on essential items, such as air conditioners, would make it “impossible” to equip up to 1,300 rooms in a hotel project. These items are crucial for hotels but are often taxed as luxury goods.

She explained that the incentive law is a key factor in attracting foreign direct investment to Dominican tourism. This regulation is vital, especially as new tourist areas, such as Pedernales, are being developed by both the public and private sectors.

Kuret de Rainieri also mentioned that this legal tool is “envied by all Latin American countries.” She cited Guatemala as an example, where business leaders met to learn about the application of such regulations.

“They wanted to start implementing it, and we are going to throw it away,” she remarked ironically.

Kuret de Rainieri proposed that the government should quickly start collecting the 16% Tax on the Transfer of Industrialized Goods and Services (Itbis) from Airbnb operations, which currently do not contribute any taxes.

She pointed out that unlike hotels, which pay Itbis for each room, Airbnbs do not pay this tax and do not generate employment through their activities. “They have no expenses: only the person who sells it and the owner of the Airbnb charge money,” she said.

Additionally, she noted that public projects have also benefited from the exemptions provided by Law 158-01, along with the private sector. “The private sector requested it, and the public sector approved it,” she said, highlighting the collaborative effort that led to the law’s implementation.

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