In July 2022, the Finance Ministry along with the Tourism Ministry officials met with industry stakeholders MATI, MATATO, NBAM, NHGAM, ATA, MAYA etc. to share information on the increment of taxes in early 2023, in spite of not having an exact date of implementation. These meetings shed light on the proposed GST increments from 6% to 8% and TGST from 12% to 14% - a total increment of 2% from both the taxes. Many across the industry continue expressing their concerns on tax increment and advising authorities of the challenges in keeping up with competitive markets. What is your take on the matter?

PUBLISHED November 05, 2022

Shaaz Waleed
Vice President
Maldives Association of Travel Agents & Tour Operators (Matato)
Without considering the current situation of the world, decisions made on tax increment are a step towards breaking the main income sector. These steps by the government will economically make the ordinary peoples way of life unstable. Some statements here are things which I do not wish to make, but it’s the sad reality. We all must think well and wise prior to concluding any decision, as tourism is a fragile business and any harm will lose a lot of jobs and affect the ordinary within the chain.
Personally I don’t think increasing the TGST from 12% to 14% has a negative effect on the industry. As a developing nation, our government also needs an extra income generated by the incrementation of TGST and GST. But one concern I have is the little amount of leeway given by the government before trying to implement the revised tax amounts. Additionally, destinations which can be described in the same category as the Maldives do have VAT of around 10-15% which means we are still in line with other destinations.
I agree with the increase of tax. 2% of an increase is nothing. Most of the resorts reduce their rate from 20% to 55 % off throughout the year. Even our neighboring countries still charge higher taxes from 18% up to 30% taxes.
I estimate that an average household will have an average 2500 rf/month because of the 2% increase in GST. GST being a regressive tax, the people who get less salary will feel the pinch more, the rich will not notice it. The GST increase is the last thing that should happen.