Tuesday morning, service providers for the local tourism industry in Cabo San Lucas gathered around the Los Cabos Marina to protest a new tourist tax that authorities want to charge to visitors of the beaches near the famous Los Cabos arch. These service providers are mainly tour guides and boat rental operators, all of whom oppose the tax.
According to protesters, this tax has tried to be forced on tourists visiting the beaches around the Los Cabos arch for the better part of ten years. In fact, the tax is already part of the local code which means that authorities have the legal right to be able to charge tourists to enter these beaches. The law stipulates that each person who wants to access the beaches around the arch would have to pay 3 dollars to enter.
Do You Need This Permit To Access The Beaches Near The Los Cabos Arch?
As things stand, legally speaking, the permit to enter these beaches has been approved by the local congress. In fact, there are some service providers that include the 3 dollar tax on the full price of their services already. The protest aims to bring some clarity to the taxation. The reason why tourist services providers are protesting doesn’t seem to be to save their clients three dollars per person on a boat trip out to the Los Cabos arch.
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What protesters mentioned is that they have not been told what the funds generated would be used for. At the same time, there’s a sense of uncertainty amongst service providers who offer trips out to the arch. The permits, or lack thereof, could limit the number of boats that are allowed to access the area. In fact, there’s a similar system in place at Cabo Pulmo, a popular diving destination in Los Cabos.
This system limits the number of boats that can access different areas at any given time. Enforcing similar limitations within the Los Cabos arch area could put many tour companies that offer trips to the area out of business. At the same time, that gesture could lead to a steep increase in the prices of these boat trips out to the arch. If there were to be fewer companies offering the service, and more limitations on the number of boats that can be in the area at any given time, there’d be less supply to potentially the same demand that exists today.
Uncertainty Over Whose Responsibility It Is To Collect The Fee In Los Cabos
Protesters mentioned that their main issue is not the three dollars, but the fact that some service providers are charging the tax and others aren’t. The collection of the tax seems to be an issue as well. Hence, the protests.
Essentially, the conflict is that some service providers seem to be asked by local authorities to turn in the proceeds from the tax when other tour guides and similar companies are not taxed by authorities. A local protester mentioned,
“The issue is that they (local authorities) should be the ones selling the permit. They want us (service providers) to collect the tax. That’s been the problem for years. They’ve tried to sell permits, they want the tax to be collected. However, some collect the tax, and some don’t. They’ve been saying that they’re going to regulate the issue, but they haven’t”.
This Could Be The Reason Why Some Tours Are More Expensive Than Others
A 3-dollar tax isn’t necessarily a big deal for tourists, but the price increase for large groups could lead some tourists to choose one service over the other. For example, a 10-person trip to the Cabo arch could cost up to 30 dollars more with a company that is concerned with charging the tax. The company that’s offering their service “within the law” is at a disadvantage compared to those who disregard the tax. This seems to be the main reason why protests are taking place.
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