(Seychelles News Agency) – The Seychelles’ tourism environmental sustainability levy will be effective as of August 1 with a three-tiered approach, said Vice President Ahmed Afif on Thursday.
The levy was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in its meeting on Wednesday.
Afif told reporters that “The government decided after several discussions with all parties to put the levy at R25 ($2), R75 ($6) or R100 ($8) which at the moment is the more agreeable way to implement it.”
He said that what has been agreed is that SCR25 will be for small hotels, SCR 75 for medium-sized hotel,s and SCR 100 for large hotels.
Afif said details on which hotels fall within which categories will be given by the Department of Tourism based on the existing legislation.
“The way it will be collected is when an establishment makes it invoice like they collect Value Added Tax (VAT) today, there will be a line on the invoice for the environment tax and will be based on per person per night,” he explained.
Afif added that “there will be an exemption for children under 12, staff of airline companies and Seychellois citizens.
On the question of whether this might affect Seychelles’ main tourism markets from Europe, the Vice President said this is not an exorbitant sum.
“For a small hotel a guest will pay SCR 25 and if the person spends 10 nights it will be SCR210 which is around $15 dollars it is not considered as a high cost. Of course, this will be higher for a guest in large hotels,” he said.
Afif said the important part is to advise clients early and explain its purpose and that sufficient time has been given for tourism establishments to inform visitors.
“We are not just collecting a tax […], the intention is to improve our environment in which the visitors are living and that we are aiming for renewable energy and this will need investment and this levy will be their contribution to help a small country that is doing a lot for the environment today,” said the Vice President.
He pointed out that Seychelles is one of the small countries that are the most affected by actions that have nothing to do with us and gave the example of the rising sea levels which is happening because of what is going on in industrialised countries.