Tourism industry protests reduction in funds for infrastructure
On 18 March, President Danilo Medina changed the distribution of the taxation on tourists arriving in the country, as reported in Diario Libre. The original purpose of the funds was to finance infrastructure and the Ministry of Tourism was responsible for managing the funds. However, on 18 March, through Decree 99-14, President Medina ordered that US$0.50 of the funds charged to incoming and outgoing passengers should be transferred to the Dominican Civil Aviation Institute (IDAC). The decree establishes that IDAC will now receive US$5.50 for each passenger, instead of US$5. Now US$3.25 is assigned to the Tourism Infrastructure Funds Executive Committee (CEIZTUR) that used to receive US$4 per passenger. Before this, US$7 of the US$15 charged to passengers was allocated to the Ministry of Tourism (MITUR) and US$5 to IDAC.
Diario Libre reports that each of 5,163,682 passengers arriving at Dominican airports, including residents and non-resident nationals and foreigners, is charged US$15. This meant US$77.4 million in 2013. In 2013, IDAC received RD$2.5 billion of which 79.3% (RD$1.9 billion) went towards paying the 1,970 employees on their payroll as of December. IDAC is responsible for regulating, certifying, surveillance and promoting aviation, as well as air navigation services and aviation operational safety.
National Association of Hotels & Tourism (Asonahores) president Luis Emilio Rodriguez Amiama wrote to President Danilo Medina on 10 April 2014 expressing his “institutional concern” and highlighting the importance of the fund for tourism infrastructure. Rodriguez pointed out that IDAC’s budgetary needs could never be proportionally higher or comparable to the demands of the tourism sector in general. Rodriguez said that in addition to the US$5 fee, IDAC also charges airlines and users for other services, which should guarantee all the resources to maintain the infrastructure and aviation for adequate air navigation.
Asonahores executive vice president Arturo Villanueva says that the President has not yet replied to the letter. Diario Libre reports that IDAC director Alejandro Herrera has not been available for comment.
Source; DR1, DiarioLibre
Category: DR News |