House Tourism Committee chair Ralph Yumul (Ind-Saipan) pre-filed a bill assessing a new special environmental management impact tax equivalent to 10 percent of each sold tour package to help fund the Marianas Visitors Authority’s maintenance, protection, and preservation of tourist sites in the CNMI.
Yumul, in his House Bill 18-169, said the impact tax on tour packages shall be deposited into a special account for tourist site maintenance and upkeep, among other things.
Under the bill, tour operators are supposed to collect and document all fees collected and pay the fees collected to the CNMI Treasury every quarter.
Tour package is defined in Yumul’s bill as a “tour, usually including but not limited to, accommodations, meals, ground and water transportation, tour guides, etc., in one all-inclusive price.”
Yumul said there is also a need to assist MVA in promoting the CNMI as a prime tourist destination.
“Tour operators greatly benefit from the promotion of the CNMI as a prime tourist destination and the resulting influx of tourists. As a result, the Legislature finds it reasonable to impose an impact tax per customer who avails of island tour packages provided by tour operators which shall be used solely for the maintenance, protection and preservation of our tourist sites,” Yumul said.