The VAT Recovery Self-Service Kiosks for Tourists Scheme in the United Arab Emirates has been expanded to include major hotels and shopping malls, according to a new report.

The new locations are an addition to the kiosks that were already in use in air, maritime and land entry and exit ports all across the country, the WAM report states following the official announcement of the move from the Federal Tax Authority (FTA).

The aim of the expansion is to provide tourists with additional services to enhance the status of the UAE as a leading destination in terms of international tourism.

The first stage of the plan to implement the new kiosks saw the debut of nine new self-service kiosks thanks to Planet, the firm given authorisation by the FTA to operate the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme electronic system.

The new kiosks were set up at multiple hotels and shopping malls, the report states.

Tourists to the UAE can make use of the kiosks to have VAT refund requests processed more conveniently at shopping malls or from their hotel, with the process taking just minutes to complete.

Applicants must have their boarding pass scanned in order to demonstrate their intention to leave the UAE within 24 hours, in addition to their original passport or GCC identity card.

After that has been completed, tourists just to have to follow some simple instructions as displayed by the kiosk to get their refund.

Planet intends to have as many as 55 new self-service kiosks deployed in the UAE by the end of the year, according to the FTA.

Around 25 of those new kiosks will be stationed in shopping malls, with the remaining 30 installed in hotels.

The objective of the new kiosks is to provide tourists with extra facilities and more options to recover their taxes, says the FTA’s director-general Khalid Ali Al Bustani.

The new development offers a further upgrading of the services offered via the Tourists Refund Scheme electronic system, which has become increasingly successful and has more and more users because of its simplicity and speed, according to Al Bustani.

Digital transaction numbers for the Tourists Refunds Scheme increased to 3.2m from its November 2018 launch to the close of 2019.

By the end of June 2019, there had been a total of 1.52m transactions, with the number surging in the second half of the year via growth of as much as 110.53%.

The average tax refund transactions on a daily basis for tourists also increased by 2.64 times from 3,720 in the first month of the scheme to as many as 9,830 daily transactions in December last year.

In order to get a tourist refund in the UAE, tax invoices must have been issued by retail stores that are part of the scheme and already registered within the system, the FTA says.

Tourists should take out travel insurance before they head to the UAE in order to avoid financial difficulties resulting from unexpected travel events such as delayed or cancelled flights.


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