The draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Approval of the Estonian National Tourism Development Plan for 2014-2020” (461 OE) passed the first reading in the Riigikogu plenary assembly. The Estonian national tourism development plan for the coming seven years sets as an objective to increase the tourism sector by approximately one third. The tourism export volume should grow from the 1.2 billion euro of 2012 to 1.6 billion euro by 2020. The number of overnight stays by tourists should grow from the 3.82 billion of 2012 to five billion overnight stays by 2020. Last year, the number of tourists who visited Estonia was in fact the largest ever.
The Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts who introduced the development plan in the rostrum of the Riigikogu said that the tourism sector together with indirect impacts contributes 6.3 per cent of the Estonian gross domestic product and accounts for 29 per cent of the export of services. “According to the data of Eesti Pank, in the first half of this year, Estonia’s income from foreign tourism was 617 million euro and as much as 7 per cent up on the year before,” Parts said.
Parts added that there are thousands of jobs in the tourism sector and in numerous regions of Estonia tourism often has the most serious potential in view of the development of the region.
The development plan identifies Finland, Russia, Latvia, Sweden, Norway, Germany and Great Britain as important target markets for Estonia, and China, Japan and USA as distant markets. The development plan also highlights the importance of supporting the development of a multifunctional conference and exhibition centre, a family tourist attraction of international interest and a network of small ports in Estonia. The state is planning to invest 123 million euro in the tourism sector in coming years.
The Riigikogu will approve the Tourism Development Plan with two readings.
The Riigikogu passed the Act on the ratification of the convention between Estonia and the United Mexican States for the avoidance of double taxation. The Bill on the Ratification of the Convention Between the Republic of Estonia and the United Mexican States for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and the Protocol thereto (466 SE), initiated by the Government, gained 69 votes in favour in the Riigikogu. The purpose of agreements for the avoidance of double taxation is to facilitate investments between Contracting States. As an international law instrument, the Convention grants greater legal certainty to investors, as compared with a national legislative act, in regard to these elements of the tax system that are regulated by the Convention, because amendment of a bilateral international convention is generally more time-consuming than amendment of a national legislative act. For the achievement of these purposes, the Convention imposes restrictions on income taxes which may be established to the residents of the other state by the state of the source of income, ensures equal treatment of persons and eliminates possible double taxation. The obligation of mutual exchange of information provided for in the Convention will create additional possibilities for prevention of tax evasions.
The Bill on Amendments to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act (449 SE), initiated by the Government, was at the second reading in the plenary assembly. The Bill specifies the rules for excise duty exemption of excise goods transported from non-EU countries by travellers, aiming to reduce the waiting lists to cross the border, curb illegal trafficking of excise goods transported from non-Union countries and ensure purposeful implementation of the relevant EU Directive. According to the Bill, transportation of excise goods within the limit of the quantity exempt from excise duty is not deemed to be occasional if a person transports alcohol or fuel to Estonia during one calendar month after he or she first arrives, and if a person transports tobacco products during one calendar month after his or her second arrival in Estonia. It also provides the right of discretion of tax authorities to apply excise duty exemption after the first or second arrival in Estonia. In addition, the procedure for supplying aircraft and ships located in other Member States with excise goods is amended according to the European Commission Regulation, and other specifications are made in the wording in the interests of legal clarity. The Act is planned to enter into force on 1 December this year.
The Bill on Amendments to the Plant Protection Act (473 SE), initiated by the Government, was also at the second reading. According to the Bill, on the basis of the Order of the Government of the Republic “Reorganisation of Jõgeva Plant Breeding Institute and the Estonian Research Institute of Agriculture”, the Estonian Crop Research Institute will organise the technical inspection of plant protection equipment and a course of professional training required for conducting the inspection. The head office of the agency will be in Jõgeva county and testing points will be in various locations of Estonia. The Estonian Crop Research Institute will determine the location where the technical inspection of plant protection equipment and a course of professional training required for conducting the inspection will be organised. The document certifying the passing of the regular technical inspection of plant protection equipment will be valid until arrival of the term for the next technical inspection.
The Bill on Amendments to the Health Care Services Organisation Act (495 SE), initiated by the Government, passed the first reading. The Bill amends the procedure for the financing of coercive psychiatric treatment which at present is done through the Ministry of Justice. As a result of an agreement between ministries, the Ministry of Justice will transfer the financing of coercive psychiatric treatment to the Ministry of Social Affairs together with respective budget funds. The term for submission of motions to amend for the second reading of the Bill is 30 October.
The Riigikogu Press Service
16 October 2013
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