A special legislative commission evaluating problems in the coastal province of Puntarenas wants to cut in half the tax charged to tourists arriving on cruise ships to the central Pacific’s Caldera port. On Thursday the commission approved the drafting of a bill that would reduce the tax from $3 to $1.50.
The $3 tax has sparked complaints from many tourists, National Liberation lawmaker Karla Prendas Matarrita said.
The proposed bill aims to attract more tourists and therefore boost income for the tourism industry in the central Pacific area, Prendas said.
Currently, the nearby Puntarenas dock and cruise ship docks in the Caribbean province of Limón charge $1.50. That’s also the standard in other Central American and Caribbean ports, Prendas noted.
“The $3 tax is the main thing discouraging tourists from docking at Caldera,” Prendas said. The legislator also believes the high fee is the reason why many cruise companies are choosing ports in Panama and Nicaragua.
In 2014, 20 cruise ships docked at Caldera port “and most of them arrived only because other ports were busy,” Prendas said.
The draft bill now will be sent for discussion and approval by the full Assembly.