Government collecting €360,000 a month from tourist eco-tax

According to figures tabled in parliament €4.5 million were collected during 2018, up from €3.5 million in 2017

Roughly €360,000 a month in eco-contributions has been collected by the government since 2016
Roughly €360,000 a month in eco-contributions has been collected by the government since 2016

The government has collected an average of €360,000 a month in tourist eco-contributions since the system was implemented.

Since 2016, those offering tourist accommodation have been obliged to collected €0.50c per person for each night, capped at €5. The stated aim of the contribution is to "improve quality along the tourism value chain", with revenue being directed "solely and exclusively to upgrade and embellish the local infrastructure in touristic areas around the Maltese Islands".

The data was tabled in parliament by Finance Minister Edward Scicluna in reply to a parliamentary question by Nationalist MP Claudio Grech, who asked the minister for a breakdown of the revenue from the scheme every month since it was introduced. 

The statistics show that the government had collected €904,682 in 2016, €3.56 million in 2017 and €4.5 million last year. €1.45 million have been collected in the first three months of 2019, the figures show.

Asked by Grech to explain the fact that, according to the figures, revenue collected was far lower than the average, Scicluna said taxes were seldom collected in a constant manner.

“This is true all of all taxes, including income tax, VAT and social security,” Scicluna said, adding that because of this, in order to project monthly income, the ministry creates a “seasonality index”.

He said that as was the case with VAT, there were some months were significantly more revenue was collected, despite the fact that this should remain roughly constant throughout the year.

Scicluna said that work was ongoing to ensure a more efficient collection method, including discussions with the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association.

He stressed that it was ultimately in the tourism ministry’s interest to collect more eco-taxes, given that the funds are earmarked for improving Malta’s tourism product.

Last year, a ministry spokesperson told MaltaToday that the amount being collected was “by and large in line with budget” but said there were “still pending issues when it comes to its collection from the operators of private accommodation hosting tourists”.

Grech also asked the minister for a breakdown of eco-tax revenue by locality but was told that data only included an accomodation's registration number and not the locality it was located in.

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