Tourism institute fights against possible massive cut in its annual budget

Organizations in the business are rallying around the tourism institute because lawmakers appear to be ready to cut the budget in half.

Wilhelm Von Breymann,  the minister of Turismo, was before the Comisión Permanente de Ambiente last week and said that the repercussions for tourism would be devastating if the current budget bill is approved.

Lawmakers want to take half of the $15 tax on each incoming air ticket and divide the income with the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación.

Von Breymann told lawmakers that doing this would be the technical closure of the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo. He said that the budget for promotion of tourism activities would be cut in half.

He told lawmakers that the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación has been inefficient and that it has run a surplus in past years.

The goal of lawmakers is to establish permanent financing for the national parks.

Also supporting the tourism institute is the Cámara Costarricense de Hoteles, which said although it supported protection for national parks it could not support an action that would destabilize tourism. The chamber said that legislative action to cut the tourism budget would jeopardize the proposed national convention center.

The $15 tax was put in place in lieu of a tax on hospitality. Officials at the time wanted to obtain taxes from persons who were not staying in traditional hotels.

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