Uruguay: Tax Free Regime Accumulates 21% Drop

This was reflected in data from Global Blue that since December 2012 operates in Uruguay as the company in charge of the VAT refund system to foreign tourists for their purchases.

Photo: Terminal Aeropuerto Internacional
Photo: Terminal Aeropuerto Internacional

Sales made in Uruguay under the Tax Free Regime (which consists of the refund of VAT to non-resident foreigners) recorded an accumulated drop of 21% between January and September of this year compared to the same period last year.

This was reflected in data from Global Blue that since December 2012 operates in Uruguay as the company in charge of the VAT refund system to foreign tourists for their purchases.

As reported by the Ministry of Tourism (Mintur) through its website, despite this decline, between June and September of the same year, there began to be a “trend change with double-digit growth month by month,” given that went from a fall of 45% in the first five months of the year to a growth of 51%.

Among the factors mentioned as responsible for this change of trend, from the Mintur highlighted the recovery of Argentine tourists and therefore, the recovery of sales in the stores attached, the “sustained growth” of tourists from Brazil, since they are the second nationality in the presence of visitors and purchases, and the growth of average ticket per visitor.

“Beyond Argentina’s recovery since June, Brazil’s growth has been sustained since the beginning of the year,” reported Mintur.

Specifically, so far in 2019, Brazilian tourists accounted for 11% of sales (more than four percentage points compared to 2018).

On the other hand, the average ticket in the accumulated 2019 reaches $ 3,361, which implied a 5% growth compared to the previous year.

Mintur indicated that this growth “is due to a higher percentage of purchases from Brazilians and the participation by brands with above average ticket.

Finally, Global Blue announced that starting in October a pilot plan was implemented consisting of a mobile application called “Global Blue – Shop Tax Free” for the validation of the benefit at the country’s exit point, located in Salto.

In this way, tourists will be able to validate their operations to obtain the benefit of return, from their mobile phones, without having to get out of the car when arriving at the international bridge.