According to the head of SECTUR Quintana Roo, this same tax is being charged since a year ago in Baja California Sur, where it was established, for an equivalent amount of USD 20 dollars per foreign visitor.
The budget cut, derived from the Federal Government’s austerity policy, as well as sanitary restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), have hit the coffers of Quintana Roo, the state that attracts most tourism in the country.
The state governor Carlos Joaquín González sent a bill to the local Congress to collect a special tax on foreign visitors.
This is a charge of 2.5 times the value of the Update Measurement Unit (UMA), which is the equivalent of $217 MXN, for the “Use and Exploitation of public domain assets”.
The measure is justified under the argument that “the transactions carried out by international tourism represents the movement of foreign currency that should contribute to public spending, in order to provide goods, services, and public spaces that satisfy the needs of those who visit the different tourist spots in the state of Quintana Roo ”.
Another proposal is to collect the right to enter protected natural areas such as the Laguna del Manatí, the Sanctuary of the Manatí, and the Laguna de Bacalar Park, proposing the amounts of $5 MXN to $50 MXN.
According to Marisol Vanegas Pérez, head of the Quintana Roo Tourism Department (SECTUR), this initiative is derived from the reduction of federal resources that the state will face during 2021, so this mechanism will allow the state government to collect between 350 and 400 million pesos a year.
She assured that for one year this same charge was established in Baja California Sur, another of the states with the highest tourism influx in Mexico, but for an equivalent amount of USD 20 dollars (about 400 MXN pesos) per foreign tourist.
However, the initiative has not been well accepted by the business chambers, which have expressed their disagreement because they allege that “the arrival of visitors to the entity will be inhibited.”
For Iván Ferrat, President of the Cancun Business Coordinating Council, other alternatives should be sought. This was indicated by a letter:
"What is urgently required today are stimulus and incentives to attract and increase international tourism and ensure the survival of the already tremendously affected tourism companies. Failure to do so puts job creation at risk"
“Just as the companies have suffered an impact, the government has to restructure with the little money that comes in, like cut wages and salaries. So they would also have to make an adjustment in their different areas ”added the business leader.
However, for the head of Quintana Roo SECTUR this is not the case, since she argued that it has been proven that in recent years the profile of tourists visiting the state has improved, which on average has an income of more than USD 75,000 per year (just over $1,502,473 MXN), which is a guarantee that the new charge will not represent a burden or a reason that could reduce the volume of visitors that the state captures.