Maldives Introduces Green Tax on Tourists
Maldives the flattest country on earth is threatened by sea level rises caused by global warming has introduced a green tax on tourism for the first time. Earlier in the year the Maldivian President Nasheed Announced an ambitious plan for the Maldives to be the first carbon neutral country within a decade.
This is the first time Maldives has charged a Green Tax, thought the Maldivian tourism sector has always been regulated with tough environmental impact plans ect. All island and Resort buildings, expansion and renovations has to have an environment impact assessment carried out and submitted to the Maldivian Ministry of Environment for approval (this excludes domestic buildings and smaller buildings in capital territories).
In order to keep with the Carbon Neutral theme a few of the resort islands have already started working towards being carbon neutral : Soneva Fushi Resort, a luxury island has already started the planning and implementation stage to try and become the first Carbon Neutral Resort in Maldives.
The green tax is said to be USD$ 3.00 per night per tourist which is estimated to earn the billion dollar local economy an estimated USD$ 6 million to help in its fight to reduce and eliminate its carbon foot print. In addition Maldives is seeking to buy Carbon offsets from EU to offset the emissions that tourists would use to Travel to the Maldives. Maldives plans to become a voluntary member in the European Unions Carbon Trading System to buy and offset its own carbon emissions and the carbon emissions caused by people visiting the tropical island nation.
Eco-Tourism in Maldives has always been a concept that the local tour operators have have been keen to maintain, since everyone in the country realizes how fragile the environment is and any damage to the environment would be very tragic to its community. Maldives would be in attendance to the Copenhagen talks on setting up a frame work on reducing Carbon Emissions which would replace the Kyoto Protocol.