The southern African country attracts eco-tourists with its offer of lion spotting or observing elephants at a watering hole. The new tourist tax aims to improve the country's tourist infrastructure.
With the Kalahari, Okavango or Chobe Nation Parks, Botswana focuses on sustainable eco-tourism. Nearly 40% of the entire surface area of the country is comprised of National Parks, wildlife sanctuaries or reserves. Rhinoceroses were relocated here to protect them from poachers.
The country, which borders South Africa and Namibia, welcomes some two million holidaymakers every year. A stay at a safari-lodge will often cost several hundred euros. Starting June 1st, foreign visitors will now also have to pay a tourist tax of 30 US dollars (27.5 euro). The tax will have to be paid at airports and border crossings, where visitors enter the country. The tourism ministry said the objective of the fee is to raise funds for conservation and national tourism development in order to support the growth of the industry and broaden the tourism base.
The Botswana Tourism Organisation says visitors can pay the tax with cash, debit and credit card. Once a Tourism Development Levy (TDL) stamp has been acquired it will be valid for 30 days and can be used for multiple entries.
The introduction of tourism taxes to support sustainable development is also common in Europe. The Balearic Islands imposed an "eco-tax" on holidaymakers last April, while many cities on the continent, including Rome, Florence and Dubrovnik, also charge visitors extra.
fm/sc (dpa/tmn, travel-one.net)