San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Levy on Airfare May Replace Hotel Tax

Lawmakers have voted to replace a 3 percent hotel tax with a flat $15 tax on airline tickets to Costa Rica.

The bill, passed in a final vote Thursday, will become law once it is signed by President Oscar Arias.

The new tax would increase funding for the Arias administration’s effort 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 rooms. By contrast, ICT would have collected about $17.5 million with the $15 charge to each visitor arriving by air, according to an analysis by legislative aides.

The bill also promotes 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).

–Gillian Gillers


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