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Travel

Flying to Los Cabos? The government would like $18 from you, but you can say no

Medano Beach
Medano Beach is one of the busiest destinations at Cabo San Lucas, where Baja California Sur officials are kicking off a new campaign to collect sustainability donations from tourists.
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Travelers arriving at Los Cabos International Airport will be asked for about $18 (350 pesos) each starting Saturday. But local officials say this isn’t a tax. It’s a request for a voluntary contribution to benefit a new Fund for a Sustainable Baja California Sur.

Under the new program, officials said, the San José del Cabo airport will feature kiosks encouraging visitors to contribute at the kiosk or through online payments.

The fund will support public security, healthcare, education, housing, employment, sports, culture, agriculture, fishing, tourism and social infrastructure, Baja California Sur Gov. Carlos Mendoza Davis wrote in a recent series of tweets.

Although the governor didn’t use the word “tax” or “impuesto,” some media outlets in the U.S. and Mexico initially reported the new program as a mandatory tax. Some have now backtracked.

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Isidro Jordán Moyrón, secretary of finance for the State of Baja California Sur, said in a prepared statement that the new effort is not “entry tax” and that “visitors will not be forced or unduly coerced into making a contribution.”

Florencia Zermeño Valencia, the head of air service development for airport operator Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico, said international visitors would “in no way” be bothered or coerced to pay. She said there would be no kiosks at La Paz airport.

Announcing the fund, the governor forecast the program would bring in 490 million pesos (about $25.5 million) in its first year and noted that the population of Los Cabos had grown 86% in the last 10 years.

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