Dubai – Mubasher: The UAE government has decided to implement a value-added tax (VAT) refund system for tourists. The system aims at increasing the number of tourists flocking to the country as well as ensure the efficiency of the UAE tax system.
In cooperation with an international specialised company in tax recovery services, the refund system will come into force by the fourth quarter of 2018, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.
Officials and retail and hospitality professionals commented that the move would have a direct impact on the travel budgets of future visitors.
“The UAE in general, and Abu Dhabi specifically, will now have this added significant attraction to all types of tourists and business travellers, reinforcing the emirate’s position as a ‘go-to’ destination and further boosting potential visitor numbers,” Saif Saeed Ghobash, the undersecretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism, said.
The government decision was taken on Wednesday. Under the new system, non-resident tourists can get a refund of VAT paid on purchases made at participating retailers through designated refund outlets.
“This is yet another step that will not only continue to drive growth in the tourism and hospitality industry, but also boost the overall economy,” Rudi Jagesbacher, Hilton’s president for the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, noted.
The UAE's tourism sector added AED 154.1 billion to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017, while the number of passengers through the GCC country’s airports reached 123 million in the same period.