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Barbados: Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) OPTIMISTIC

The Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) is hoping that Government will review the pending increase in value added tax (VAT) on hotel accommodation.

That’s the word from Chief Executive Officer of the BHTA, Senator Rudy Grant. He was speaking yesterday morning at the BHTA’s 3rd Quarterly General Meeting at the Hilton Hotel, as he noted that the increase in VAT – which is to take effect come January 1, 2020 – is expected to see the tax double from the 7.5 per cent the sector currently pays. With that reality facing the sector, he said the BHTA has been talking with the Ministry of Finance, in particular the Director of Finance and Economic Affairs Ian Carrington, with the hope of getting a lower rate.

“While it is still a policy of Government, we hope to engage in further discussions to determine whether or not there could be some change in this regard. But I have to tell you that as it stands today, the policy of the Government does reflect that effective the 1st of January 2020, the VAT on
accommodation will increase from 7.5 per cent to 15 per cent,” Grant said.

Senator Grant’s comments came as he reflected on the measures introduced in the recent mini-Budget by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, which will impact the tourism sector. In addition to the VAT increase, he said others include a shake-up at the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) and the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA); the airline travel and tourism development fee which comes into effect from October 1; and the short-term room levies on all categories of accommodation which have been put in place until the VAT increase is implemented.

As it relates to the room levies, which hotels started to charge from July 1 this year, he noted that those staying at luxury accommodation are now paying an additional $20.00 per room per night; “A” Class, $11.00 per room per night and “B” Class and Apartments, $5.00 per room per night. To date, he said, there have not been any major concerns raised by visitors about the recently instituted room levies.

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