A bill making its way through the federal legislature would increase the immigration services tax by 388%, partly to pay for the Mayan Train. A separate non-resident tax would rise 58% under the measure.
If approved, Mexico would charge foreign tourists one of the world’s highest fees.
The lower house of Congress already passed the measure; the Senate has yet to vote.
Tourists flying to Mexico would pay the Immigration Services Law (DSM) 380 pesos (around US$20) up from 77.91 pesos (US$3.75). The Non-Resident Law (DNR) would rise from 558.26 (US$30) to 885 pesos (US$46.50).
Business groups are urging the Senate to vote against them, saying the hikes would hurt tourism and weaken visitors’ travel budgets.
“We trust that the Senate of the Republic will vote against increasing the DNR, which would be the final blow to international tourism in Mexico,” said Roberto Cintrón, president of the Hotel Association of Cancun, Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres, on Twitter.
“It would make us one of the countries with the highest tax collection for our foreign tourists,” said Francisco López Reyes, the director of municipal Tourism in Benito Juárez.
Revenue from the DNR tax, already 6 billion pesos (US$314.6 million) annually, used to pay for tourism promotion and improve the country’s immigration.
Tourism makes up 8.7% of Mexico’s Gross Domestic Product.
But after the dismantling of the Tourism Promotion Council, the government has said that revenue would help pay for the Tren Maya, or Mayan Train, on the Yucatan Peninsula.
According to one estimate, the massive infrastructure project will cost 150 billion pesos, or about about US$7.9 billion.
With information from Noticaribe, Reportur