The owners of hotels and restaurants and other tourism-related businesses have asked the government to consider lowering Value-Added Tax (VAT) from 10 to 5 percent to help them deal with the effects of the Covid-19 crisis.
President of the Lao Hotel and Restaurant Association, Mr Pakasith Chanthapanya, told Vientiane Times the association had made the request through the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“We are unsure about the response, but the association is optimistic that there will soon be some positive feedback,” he said.
Mr Pakasith said hotel operators had been severely affected by the pandemic, although business had picked up in provinces with popular tourist attractions.
“This is thanks to the Lao Thiao Lao marketing campaign to rejuvenate tourism around the country in order to offset the impacts of the pandemic,” he said.
The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism is drafting a plan for the continued rollout of the Lao Thiao Lao scheme for submission to the government cabinet, in the hope of further consideration, advice and support.
The ministry will ask the government to consider waiving rental or concession payments on privately-owned tourist sites.
The government is also requested to cancel the payment of taxes by hotels, resorts, guesthouses, restaurants and travel companies, to help businesses survive in the face of the continuing pandemic, which has paralysed the tourism industry.
“If this is possible, it will be great news for hoteliers as it will help them to stay afloat during times of financial hardship, alongside other business operations in the country,” Mr Pakasith said.
Based on the success of the Lao Thiao Lao marketing campaign, the ministry will also ask the government to provide 3 billion kip to further advertise the initiative in the hope of persuading more people to make use of Laos’ tourism facilities and sustain the industry.
The ministry is also calling for the government to strengthen the Lao Thiao Lao tourism campaign and make it a national effort, saying this would encourage more public and private participation.