23 Feb 2006

Proposed taxes on travellers to American Samoa anger the tourism industry

2:28 pm on 23 February 2006

A bill in American Samoa proposing a tax on hotel rooms and rental cars has been described by a member of the visitor industry as outrageous.

If approved the bill would place a 7% tax on hotel rooms and a 5% tax on rental cars.

Half of the proceeds would go towards a new building for the Legislature and the balance would be deposited in the government General Gund to be used as the Fono directs.

The President of the Pago Pago Visitors Association, Tom Drabble, says the government is trying to reap the rewards of an industry they have not helped in the past.

"Its pretty outrageous! The Fono and the government doesn't support development of tourism anyway so I don't really understand why they are trying to destroy an industry they won't even help to get started. Everything that's happened in the tourism industry with growth of hotel rooms and rental cars has been done in spite of government not because of them."

Tom Drabble.