TULUM, Mexico – The hospitality industry in Tulum has once again called on the State Congress to reconsider the viability of the so-called “Visitax” tax, citing its adverse impact on the region’s tourist image and questionable relevance. David Ortiz Mena, Vice President of the Hotel Council of the Mexican Caribbean, emphasized that the time is ripe for a comprehensive assessment of whether maintaining this tax is in the best interest of Tulum and its visitors, as the Legislative Power will soon review the following year’s Revenue Law.
“We believe that this is a deceptive and detrimental charge that not only inflates the cost of visiting our destination but also tarnishes its image,” explained Ortiz Mena. “Many travelers report not having paid this tax and now fear returning because of announcements at the airport advising them to avoid problems related to this fee, suggesting a link to their passport. It’s an invitation for our tourists not to come back,” he lamented.
The Visitax: A Dubious Legacy
The “Visitax” was originally introduced by the State Congress during the previous government’s tenure as an emergency measure to combat the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was intended to prevent hikes in lodging and payroll taxes. However, now that both taxes have already been raised, Visitax has lost its justification. Moreover, the websites collecting the tax provide conflicting explanations and rates for the fee.
“A tourist arriving in our country already pays nearly 667 pesos as a non-resident fee, in addition to the 560 pesos airport usage fee (TUA) for international flights. Hoteliers also pay an environmental sanitation tax. The purpose of the Visitax is far from clear,” commented Ortiz Mena. He reiterated that the hotel industry had previously invited local legislators and the state government to collaborate on finding better ways to promote tourism, the economic lifeblood of Quintana Roo, “without resorting to deceptive charges that do more harm than good.”
The contentious “Visitax” continues to be a source of concern for Tulum’s hospitality sector. It not only complicates tourists’ experiences but also threatens the reputation of the region as a desirable destination. As Tulum strives to recover from the pandemic’s impact and regain its status as a premier tourist hotspot, the need for transparent and tourist-friendly taxation becomes increasingly apparent.
In the coming months, the State Congress must carefully weigh the costs and benefits of maintaining the Visitax, taking into account its effects on both tourism and the broader economy. The hotel industry’s call for reconsidering this tax should serve as a catalyst for productive dialogue, leading to a taxation system that supports the region’s growth and prosperity without dissuading visitors from returning.