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Organic Law on Tourism

Decree No. 1,441 was published in Official Gazette No. 6,152 dated November 18, 2014. Through said Decree, the President of the Republic issued the Decree with the Status, Value, and Force of Organic Law of Tourism (the “Decree-Law”), which has the purpose of establishing the measures that guarantee the development and promotion of tourism as an economic activity of national interest and of first importance for the country, and of regulating the organization and operation of the National Tourism System.  Find below the most relevant aspects of the Decree-Law.

 

a) Scope of application. The activities with tourism purposes of the private and public sectors, the economic activities carried out within the zones declared of tourist interest and other tourist places or zones are subject to the provisions of the Decree-Law.  Likewise, the private or public entities that perform tourism-related activities, as well as the tourism service providers, must adapt their activities to the provisions of the Decree-Law.

 

b) Tourism services. The following activities are considered tourism services: (i) lodging with tourism purposes; (ii) travel agencies, (iii) recreation and sports with tourism purposes; (iv) tourist guides; (v) tourist transport; (vi) food and drinks; (vii) vacation homes; (viii) operators or managers of real estate for tourism or vacation purposes; (ix) protection, assistance, hygiene, and security for tourists or visitors; (x) health and aesthetics for tourism purposes; (xii) commercial and cultural activities that exclusively provide tourism services in fairs and traditional and popular celebrations; (xiii) any other that without being included in any of  the above is considered to be a tourism service provider by the Ministry of the Popular Power with competence over tourist matters (the “Ministry”).

 

c) Offer of services in foreign currency. The tourism service providers’ obligation to offer tourism services in national currency is eliminated.  However, tourism service providers that wish to provide their services in foreign currency must comply with the following duties:

 

(i) To notify the Ministry on a monthly basis of the transactions generating income in foreign currency and deliver a list of the foreign tourists attended.

(ii) To offer the conditions that enable tourists or visitors to exchange the foreign currency to pay for the services provided, in accordance with the relevant exchange agreement and other applicable legal provisions.

 

d) Duties of tourism service providers. It is the duty of all tourism service providers to use a form of Guest Registration Standardized Card (Tarjeta Unificada de Registro de Huespedes) that meets the minimum requisites and that is stamped by the relevant authority.

 

e) Quality promotion and control. Tourism service providers may be ranked with tourist quality stamps that may be issued by both public and private entities (with the prior certification of the Ministry).  Likewise, the Ministry may issue orders of improvements in cases of failure to comply with the maintenance and hygiene conditions in the facilities. These orders of improvements are to be mandatorily complied with.

 

f) Special contribution in tourism. The tax period of the special contribution in tourism is the calendar month and payment must be made within fifteen (15) calendar days following the end of each tax period. Tourism service providers that commence their activities in the zones declared as zones of tourist interests by the National Executive are exempt from the payment of the special tourism contribution during the first three (3) months of activities, provided that their gross income is lower than nine thousand tax units (9,000 T.U.).

 

g) Penalizing regime. Tourism service providers that fail to comply with their tax duties may be penalized with the shutdown of the establishment for a period of three (3) calendar days. When the failure derives from the lack of payment of the special contribution, the shutdown period will range from three (3) to five (5) calendar days. Also, the tourism service providers that fail to notify on a monthly basis the transactions generating income in foreign currency and/or the list of tourists involved in such transactions, or provide false information, deviate the use for tourism purposes given to an establishment, or fail to comply with the exchange regime provisions will be penalized with the revocation of the registration, license, certifications, or authorizations granted.

 

The Decree-Law repealed Decree No. 9,044 of June 15, 2012 with the Status, Value, and Force of Organic Law of Tourism, published in Official Gazette No. 6,079 of June 15, 2012, published again due to an error in Official Gazette No. 3,999 of June 29, 2012.

 

The Decree-Law became effective upon its publication in the Official Gazette.

 

In order to access the Decree-Law, please click here.

 

“NOTE: THIS INFORMATION SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE ON ANY SPECIFIC MATTER AND ITS CONTENT ARE INTENDED AS A MANAGEMENT ALERT AS TO CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS IN VENEZUELA, ANY SPECIFIC LEGAL QUESTIONS REGARDING THE POSSIBLE APPLICATION OF NEW OR PROPOSED LEGISLATION TO PARTICULAR SITUATIONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO TRAVIESO EVANS ARRIA RENGEL & PAZ.