Tourist taxes offer a means for local authorities to demand a contribution from occasional visitors to cost of public services which they benefit from during their stay. A Hotel Tax was prepared over 10 years ago in Armenia but never applied. In the context of further decentralisation, and as a follow-up to last year’s CDDG Peer Review on increasing fiscal autonomy and fiscal capacity of local authorities in Armenia, key stakeholders gathered in Yerevan and online to discuss a revised draft Hotel Law.
The discussion was enriched by the participation of Mr Vache Terteryan, First Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration, , and Ms Ani Ispiryan, Deputy Minister of Economy, who each welcomed the opportunity to discuss elements of the draft law with key stakeholders. There was a broad recognition among participants of the merits of introducing such a tax as a means of promoting fiscal autonomy in Armenia.
The debate was framed by a presentation of best European practice presented by Council of Europe expert, Mr Vieri Ceriani. Participants discussed whether the tax could be introduced on a discretionary basis – offering an opt out to communities with limited hotel services and tourist infrastructure – and the margin of appreciation that might be offered to municipalities in applying the tax.
The discussion was the 6th in a series of Community Consultation Initiatives organised under the Democratic Development, Decentralisation and Good Governance in Armenia project implemented by the Centre of Expertise for Good Governance in the context of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Armenia and funded by the Austrian Development Agency.