The Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism filed in the Congress of the Republic the project that modifies the General Tourism Law to strengthen its sustainability, formalization, and competitiveness. With support measures to recover the industry, such as expanding the exemption of the energy surcharge for hotels, parks, and events, and adjusting the special rate of 9% for income tax and the reduction of VAT to 5% for air transport.

“Tourism offers growth and development opportunities for countries like ours, but the sector is widely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. For this reason, the need arose to include in the text measures for the recovery of the tourism industry.  The extension of the exemption from paying the energy surcharge for the hotel, amusement, theme, and event subsectors; the adjustment of the special rate of 9% of the income tax and the reduction of the sales tax (VAT) to 5% for the air transport of passengers, among others”, said the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, José Manuel Restrepo.

Likewise, the project seeks to strengthen tourism quality, include new offenses against non-compliance with the National Tourism Registry (RNT), and improve the parafiscal contribution regulation. On the other hand, to allow tourist guides who provide the scriptwriting service in their native language, not to be bilingual, and to be able to provide the service by accrediting an assessment of skills. The proposal helps to formalize tourist scripts and generate employment.

The Vice Minister of Tourism, Julián Guerrero Orozco, indicated that “the proposed law seeks to create figures such as tourist control points that can serve as a mechanism for managing the limits established for tourist sites or attractions, according to criteria of sustainability. Also, concepts such as carrying capacity, sustainable development, and ecotourism will be specified so that they are under international references”. (Colombia will have the first sustainable tourism policy).

The project contemplates the sustainable environmental criteria for tourist activity. In recent years tourism has continuously grown, which requires being accompanied by responsible practices to make Colombia an important international destination. The bill begins its legislative agenda in the Sixth Committee of the House of Representatives; it will continue to plenary and then in committee and the Senate’s plenary session.

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