20 Sep 2010

Bill for new taxes to support American Samoa's Visitor's Bureau gets support

9:12 am on 20 September 2010

A bill in American Samoa seeking to impose new taxes to fund the Visitor's Bureau has received support.

The bill's sponsors, senators Lualemaga Faoa and Alo Stevenson, say the Visitor's Bureau was established to promote the territory as a global tourist destination.

But they say funding for the Bureau's programmes has been inadequate.

The bill seeks to impose a seven percent tax on hotel rooms, inns, lodges and bed and breakfast establishments.

It also proposes a five percent tax on rentals cars.

The chairman of the American Samoa Chamber of Commerce, Joey Cummings, says his members are open to the idea.

But he says chamber members have ONE condition about the bill.

"But they just want to make sure that there is no chance that this money won't be appropiated for anything else, they want this money to go to right to the American Samoa Visitors Bureau and no where else."

But Mr Cummings says he has also heard the taxes may scare away potential visitors.

The Visitors Bureau Director, David Vaeafe, has welcomed also the bill.