Puerto Vallarta hoteliers have rejected a decision by the Jalisco government to take over responsibility for collecting the lodging tax paid by overnight visitors to the Pacific coast resort city.
Governor Enrique Alfaro Ramírez announced on January 28 that the state government would audit and restructure the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Trust (Fidetur), a municipal body that currently collects the 3% room tax. As a result, the Jalisco government will collect the tax, Alfaro said.
Álvaro Garciarce Monraz, president of both Fidetur and the Puerto Vallarta Hotel Association, told the newspaper El Economista that hotel owners are worried about where the money will end up.
Fidetur collected 143 million pesos (US $7.7 million) from the lodging tax last year that was used to promote Vallarta as a tourism destination both within Mexico and abroad, he said, adding that an agreement is needed between the trust and the government to allow the former to continue using the revenue.
“We’re very worried that these resources will be used in a different way,” Garciarce said.
He stressed that he had no concern about the audit of Fidetur and rejected any suggestion that the state government was carrying it out because it has suspicions about the trust’s use of the funds it collects.
“We’ve had audits every year and we’ve always gone very well. We don’t have a problem with that,” Garciarce said.
The hotel association chief said an increase of 60% in arrivals at the Puerto Vallarta airport over the last five years was due to the promotion that Fidetur has been able to carry out with room tax revenue. The revenue has increased 5-8% annually in the same period, Garciarce said.
For his part, Jalisco Tourism Secretary Germán Ralis Cumplido said that the state government is planning to audit all autonomous public organizations and trusts, not just Fidetur in Puerto Vallarta.
“There is a review process that I believe is healthy; [its purpose] is to make better use of public resources,” he said.
Ralis said that the room tax revenue collected by the state government will be used not just for tourism promotion but also to invest in tourism infrastructure in Vallarta, Jalisco’s premier tourism destination.
Source: El Economista (sp)