President Sata opposes AU tourism levies

Zambia tourism

5em”>via State House of the Republic of Zambia by Thomas Nsama on 5/27/13

…levies would hurt tourism industry
From CHARLES MUSONDA in Addis Ababa
PRESIDENT Sata has opposed two levies proposed by the African Union (AU) on air tickets and hotel accommodation, saying if implemented, the extra charges will hurt Zambia’s tourism and hospitality industry.
Last year, the AU high-level panel on alternative sources of funding, chaired by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, proposed that air travellers pay US$5 each time they fly in and out of Africa.
The second option is a US$2 hospitality levy for all hotel stays on the continent.
During closed-door deliberations of the 21st AU Heads of State and Government Summit here yesterday, Mr Sata rejected the proposal made last year.
“I sympathise with the former Nigerian President Obasanjo who still believes that we have to continue levying things. Zambia has overpaid for the maintenance of the Organisation of African Unity, AU and all other organisations to which we are members.
“What we have to bear in mind is that apart from the African Union, we have more problems in Africa. Yesterday we heard about poverty, yesterday we heard about the girl child, yesterday we heard about children who are not going to school,” Mr Sata said.
He said the proposed levies are high and Africa still has many problems.
“We are not going to levy anybody, we would like to attract tourism in Zambia. If hotels become expensive, people are going to rise against us. The airlines will become less profitable,” he said.
Mr Sata said Zambia would like to encourage tourism and private investment and wants to attract more people into its business sector.
“Therefore, if there is anything we can do to minimise the unnecessary levies, if this African Union is running out of money, let us know how much you want us to contribute, but we will not levy Zambians or those outside Zambia, people who are coming to Zambia,” he said.
It is estimated that the AU’s financial challenges include the fact that over 96 percent of the AU Commission’s US$160 million programmes budget is from donors and other cooperating partner