Radegonde said that since the coming into force of the levy, no negative impact has been recorded in visitors’ arrival and forward bookings. (Gerard Larose)
Over SCR85 million ($6.3 million) is expected to be collected through the Seychelles tourism environmental sustainable levy for the period August 1 to December 31, said a high government official on Tuesday.
Contributed by visitors coming to Seychelles, the money collected through the levy will be used to manage and protect the local environment.
The finance minister, Naadir Hassan, said in a joint statement in the National Assembly that “for the whole of next year, we are expecting to collect a sum of just below SCR200 million ($15 million).”
Hassan explained that in this year’s national budget, a total of about SCR584.5 million ($43.7 million) was allocated in total to four separate entities for their operation for the cleaning contracts of the Landscape and Waste Management Agency.
“Many resources are being placed in this sector and we will need much more in the future […]. We all have a contribution to make to the preservation and protection of our environment. We, as Seychellois, and the tourists visiting our islands,” he said.
The levy, which came into force on August 1, has three applicable rates. For establishments with 1 to 24 rooms, the rate stands at SCR25 ($2) per person per night, for medium establishments with 25 to 50 rooms, a rate of SCR75 ($6) per person per night and large establishments with over 51 rooms, yachts, and island resorts – SCR100 ($8) per person per night.
Seychellois, residents, children under 12, and crew members of planes and yachts will not pay the levy.
The finance minister added that “the government has included a provision in the law that will prevent booking platforms from charging a commission on the levy.”
Responding to concerns raised on the impact of the levy on the tourism industry, the tourism minister, Sylvestre Radegonde, said that since the coming into force of the levy, no negative impact has been recorded in visitors’ arrival and forward bookings.
“We continue to have a growth in arrival with a 7 percent increase compared to last year. Seychelles is not the first country to implement such a tax. Many who travel to Europe or Dubai will notice either a municipality tax or a city tax. Maldives, considered one of our competitors, has since July 1, 2023, started applying a green tax a lot higher than what we are proposing,” said Radegonde.
The Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC) has the mandate to collect the revenue and any enforcement measures will be applied based on the provision of the Revenue Administration Act. Establishments have until the 21st of each month to submit their returns for the previous month.
Speaking on the merit of the levy, Seychelles’ environment and climate change minister, Flavien Joubert, said, “We need to recognise that tourism, an activity that brings significant impacts, needs to be properly managed.”
He added that all those who benefit need to make efforts to help support the expenses of the country on the maintenance of the Seychelles’ environment.
“As a country, we need to put in place measures to reduce our dependency on donations coming from foreign donors to manage resources in our country. The ministry believes that a levy on the environment is just part of a wider number of measures to ensure that activities that exploit our environment will contribute to its management and preservation,” said Joubert.