San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica may see new airfare tax

Lawmakers have advanced a bill that would replace a national 3 percent hotel tax with a flat $15 tax on airplane tickets to Costa Rica.

The new tax would increase funding for the Arias administration´s efforts to market Costa Rica to tourists as a financial crisis pinches pockets around the world. In 2006, the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) collected about $7.9 million from the tax on hotel fees. ICT would have collected about $17.5 million by charging $15 to each visitor arriving by air.

The bill also would promote in-country tourism by Ticos, who would not pay the new airfare tax, said lawmaker Ana Helena Chacón of the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC).

The bill, which survived an initial vote yesterday, would become law ones it clears a second vote and is signed by President Oscar Arias.

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