Hotel and motel owners seek tax exemption on goods and services

Members of the FBCCI Standing Committee on the Development of Hotels, Motels, Resorts and Guesthouses demanded a waiver of duties and taxes to compensate for losses incurred during the pandemic.

The businessmen claimed lower taxes and VAT would help provide better services, including rent at a lower rate, a press release read.

Hotels, motels, resorts and bed and breakfasts are an integral part of tourism. But the owners have to pay huge tariffs on the equipment and products they import in order to ensure modern facilities for foreign tourists. They must also pay VAT on the service. An additional tax of 37% must be paid on the income.

This enormous tax burden hampers the further development of this sector.

Members of the FBCCI’s Standing Committee on the Development of Hotels, Motels, Resorts and Guesthouses made the complaint during the committee’s first meeting held at the FBCCI office on Tuesday afternoon. They say the Corona outbreak has nearly destroyed the business of hotels, resorts and bed and breakfasts, the statement read.

Thus, they demanded exemption from duties and taxes.

In order to attract foreign tourists to Bangladesh, the committee members demanded relaxation of the requirement to test for corona within 48 hours before flight and simplification of the visa process.

Committee members blamed inadequate branding for the development of tourism in Bangladesh.

The speakers urged the branding of Bangladesh in the tourism sector through the Tourism Board. Therefore, they call the necessary allocation in the budget. In addition, recommendations for the formulation of a guesthouse development policy were raised during the meeting, the statement added.

FBCCI Senior Vice President Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu also joined the meeting virtually as a key guest. He said hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts were among the sectors most affected by the Corona outbreak. The sector has also played an important role in obtaining foreign currency.

Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu urged the standing committee to research the opportunities, problems and possible solutions in this sector and submit it to the FBCCI in the form of a proposal. He said the matter would be discussed in the government’s decision-making body which would consider the proposal.

Khabir Uddin Ahmed, chairman of the committee, said that at least three of the 17 sustainable development goals announced by the United Nations are directly linked to tourism. Other objectives also depend indirectly on the development of tourism. Therefore, in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030, the country’s tourism industry must be developed.

FBCCI Director Syed Moazzem Hossain called for ensuring quality services to tourists at reasonable prices in hotels and resorts. At the same time, he called for apprenticeship programs to create a skilled workforce.

FBCCI Secretary General Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque said that FBCCI gives due importance to the development of tourism. He also put the tourism sector on the agenda of the Canada-Bangladesh Joint Task Force.

Also present at the meeting were Khandaker Committee Co-Chair Ruhul Amin, Taofiq Uddin Ahmed, Mohiuddin Helal, AHM Aminul Islam Bhuiyan, Md. Mahbub Alam, Mohammad Jahangir Alam, Mehdi Amin Chowdhury and other members.