The Administration Approves VAT Refund Program for Foreign Tourists by 2024
The administration gave the go signal for the Value-Added Tax (VAT) Refund Program for foreign tourists by 2024 to further improve tourist arrivals in the country.
This program would allow foreign visitors to get a refund on the VAT for the products they purchased in the Philippines and brought back to their respective home countries.
During a news release on Sunday, January 29, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) stated that the President signed the program following the “Quick Wins” recommendations. These recommendations are proposed by the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) Tourism Sector Group.
The council consists of several business leaders and industry experts who provide advice and insights to the President regarding the government’s economic objectives in six key sectors. They include agriculture, digital infrastructure, health care, infrastructure, jobs generation, and tourism.
According to Malacañang, the President will be releasing an executive order on the program soon, and other countries will also implement the VAT program to attract foreign tourists further.
Aside from the recommendation, the PSAC also informed President Marcos that they are developing an application called e-Travel. This app adds all the information foreign tourists may need, such as immigration, customs, health, and quarantine. PSAC aims to make this app public by February.
The President has been active in pushing digitalization in government, he said. Tourists could easily fill out apps like e-Travel while traveling and simultaneously enable authorities to ensure the security of the country’s borders.
In terms of tourist counts, the Department of Tourism (DOT) recorded 2.65 million visitors from February to December 2022. This is much higher than the 163,879 tourists in 2021. However, despite this improvement, it is still lower than the pre-pandemic visitor record of 8.26 million.