From: Ranga Sirilal, Reuters
Published September 8, 2009 07:18 AM

Maldives to introduce green tax on tourists

The Maldives archipelago, threatened by rising sea levels blamed on climate change, said on Monday it would introduce a new environment tax on all tourists who use its resorts and provide its economic lifeline.

Famed mostly for high-end luxury resorts and white-sand atolls, the Maldives has made a name for itself as an advocate for mitigating climate change because rising sea levels are forecast to submerge most of its islands by 2100.

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The Maldives' $850 million economy gets more than a quarter of its gross domestic product from tourists, but has not yet taxed them to help it fight climate change.

President Mohammed Nasheed, who in March outlined plans to make the Maldives the world's first carbon-neutral nation within a decade, said an environment tax was soon to be levied on all tourists.

"We have introduced a green tax. It's in the pipeline. It's a matter of parliament approving it and I hope parliament will approve it -- $3 per each tourist a day," Nasheed told reporters in Male, the capital of the Indian Ocean archipelago.

Based on an annual average of 700,000 tourists who spend an average of three days on the islands, that translates to about $6.3 million annually.

Article continues: http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE5863QL20090907?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews

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