Tourists in Singapore will benefit from mid 2011 when that country takes its GST Tourist Refund Scheme into the electronic age.
The existing paper based system is going to be replaced by a procedure which will see tourists using tokens to record purchases as they go. At Changi airport when they leave they simply use the token at the validation kiosk to obtain their GST refund.
Nice and simple.
Quite a few countries operate GST/VAT refund schemes for tourists including neighbours Australia and Fiji. New Zealand doesn’t.
This use of technology means they can be implemented without too much administration but the question is, how important are these schemes to tourists?
I doubt whether tourists make conscious decisions to travel to countries with refund schemes but, if a country has one, do tourists spend more there?
I must try to get some data on that.