KIEN GIANG - International tourists will receive value-added tax (VAT) refunds on goods they purchase in Viet Nam at one more airport, the Phu Quoc International Airport in the southern Kien Giang province.
Following Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's approval, Phu Quoc airport will become the fifth international airport in Viet Nam to provide VAT refund services to foreign tourists. The other four airports are Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCM City, Noi Bai Airport in Ha Noi, Da Nang Airport in Da Nang City and Cam Ranh Airport in Khanh Hoa Province.
The first international flights from Phu Quoc began last February, linking Russia with the island. Since then, two more international air routes have been added, connecting the island with Singapore and Cambodia's Siem Reap.
The provision of VAT refunds is expected to help boost tourism development in Phu Quoc , following the government's tourism development orientation.
Under the pilot plan approved by Prime Minister Dung in 2011, foreign tourists who buy goods at certain airports, tourist areas and shops in large cities will receive a 10 per cent refund on the tax they pay.
Goods purchased by foreigners are considered export commodities, so every purchase worth more than VND2 million (S$130) per receipt, issued within 30 days of their exit from Viet Nam, will benefit from the tax refund.
The VAT refund policy for foreigners has also been applied at three international seaports of Khanh Hoi port in HCM City, Da Nang port in Da Nang City and Nha Trang port in Khanh Hoa Province. It aims to increase the foreign tourist arrivals in Viet Nam and promote exports.
The policy was first piloted at Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports in 2012.
Figures from the General Department of Viet Nam Customs showed that by the end of last February, more than 8,620 foreigners had received refunds on goods worth more than VND425 billion.
According to the Phu Quoc District People's Committee, 586,000 tourists visited the island last year, up 37.6 per cent from 2013. The number of foreign visitors went up by 21.5 per cent to 125,000.
The island achieved tourism revenues of more than VND2.2 trillion (over US$103 million) last year, a whopping 84 per cent higher than in 2013.
It now has around 4,000 hotel rooms.