The Adrian Loveridge Column – Government Must Clarify Departure Tax ASAP!

I sincerely hope that as we are already in the month of August, with less than 60 days before the new Government imposes the additional ‘departure’ or airline tax of US$70 per person outside the region and US$35 within the Caribbean, that they will shortly clearly communicate how this levy will be collected.

Not surprisingly, in the absence of any clear guidelines, social media speculation has been rife and in many instances misleading.

On the popular TripAdvisor Barbados Forum, one person posted that they had received a response from the London office of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., which stated ‘the intention is to have this departure tax included within the price of the  ticket – our team on the ground from the Ministry of Tourism are working with the relevant authorities to ensure this will be the case’.

At the time of submitting this column, no mention of this additional charge could be found on the websites of Virgin Atlantic, British Airways or Thomas Cook Airlines with most listing the conditions which indicate all mandatory taxes and charges are included.

By now of course, the vast majority of travellers have already paid for their flights and/or tour packages for arrivals after 1st October 2018.

Are they left to speculate that within the next few weeks, some sort of payment facility will be placed in the departure area of the Grantley Adams International Airport?

What sort of directive has been issued to the travel agents, tour operators and airlines and, if one has been distributed, why is there not more clarity on their websites and Facebook (FB) pages?

As a former travel agent and tour operator, the very last thing you want is not to possess the facts which can be accurately related to your clients. After all, that is why the vast majority of people book through third parties to avoid unnecessary unpleasant surprises.

Having been a Director and Committee chairman of our tourism trade body, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, naturally I contacted them to clarify the situation, but sadly with the initial contact, no definitive information was available at this time.

The previous administration built quite a reputation for frequently not implementing efficient new policies in a timely manner over their decade of ‘governance’. Let us not repeat these same mistakes.

During the budget presentation in Parliament, Prime Minister, Mia Motley, said ‘it is anticipated that this measure in a full fiscal year will realise $95 million. $75 million to fund the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Barbados Tourism Product Authority with $20 million for regulation of tourism and civil aviation and the country’s shareholder responsibilities to LIAT’.

Applying simple division, BDS$95 million would equate to 678,571 long stay visitors paying the full US$70 per person, but allowing for the reduced intra Caribbean rate of US$35, this would obviously raise that overall number to reach that fiscal target.

According to available data, in 2017 Grantley Adams International Airport welcomed 663,441 visitors. Whether this included in-transit passengers is not clear.

What is also unanswered is whether cruise and fly arrivals be subject to this new levy or will they again escape paying any meaningful contribution to marketing Barbados.

29 comments

  • Talk about killing the goose that lays the golden egg. This is high moronics.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Can anyone tell me what is going again at Worthing Beach ? Heard it’s been closed since June ?

    Like

  • Agree that to place this tax on the very industry which is expected to bring us out of this economic dark hole – is counter productive.

    I also believe that a study should be done on whether that sector has over priced itself with regards to their products on offer.
    The hoteliers have always been able to benefit from various govts (DLP/BLP) generous hand outs e.g after 911,then Richard sealy did a similar thing,their vat was lower than the national percentage etc.

    Finally this government should look at ensuring that moneys paid for rooms and other services should be brought into the island, and not kept overseas – in order to help boost our foreign reserves.

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  • “Finally this government should look at ensuring that moneys paid for rooms and other services should be brought into the island, and not kept overseas – in order to help boost our foreign reserves”

    Quite, but Butch won’t like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  • PoorPeacefulandPolite

    Ever tried to get a registration form to apply on-line for a holiday-rental apartment license ? The BTMI doesn’t seem to have got the message yet !

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Walmark

    Worthing beach is indeed CLOSED, in fact the closure is from St Lawrence Gap up to the Acra Hotel. Ģovernment is draining the sewage from the Grame swamp that they continue to pump there from the south coast sewage plant that is failed. No fix timeline.

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  • @Adrian

    Jamaica has a landing fee of US20.00 and a departure tax of US35.

    How does Barbados compare with a few of our competing markets?

    Your point about clarity how the tax will be implemented is taken.

    Liked by 1 person

  • 45 govt

    To hell with Butch.As it is he should forever be thankful to this country for the massive concessions he got from the last govt.

    I had no problem at all with the giving of concessions but the scale of it was too much.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Barbados Government Information Service
    August 3 at 4:48 PM ·
    Worthing Beach will remain closed to ensure that the ecological conditions of the swamp and its environs are restored.
    This is according to Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, who said “we have a sensitive and delicate eco-system and it is critical that the balance is right”.
    http://gisbarbados.gov.bb/blog/update-on-worthing-beach/

    Update On Worthing Beach | GIS
    Update On Worthing Beach Sheena Forde August 3, 2018 banner, Top Stories Worthing Beach will remain closed to ensure that the ecological conditions of the swamp and its environs are restored. This is according to Minister of…
    GISBARBADOS.GOV.BB

    Like

  • Off topic – I see in the UK Press that Canada’s Ambassador to Saudia Arabia has been expelled and the foreign minister slammed for poking their nose in the Saudia Arabia’s sovereignity.

    That lil joker Justin Trudeau needs to read up on some diplomacy and instruct his people in the foreign ministry to check their mouthings.

    We know how that Ambassador that’s here in b’dos has peen pushing this gay pride march and homosexual agenda which we see has emboldened the homosexuals -especially after this new govt came in.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @David
    How many Ministers providing updates on the status of this closure? Didn’t Prescod as Minister of the Environment also deliver a statement? Just waiting for Humphrey to jump in.

    Many hands make light work

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  • Based on observation the idea is that Abrahams has lead responsibility for the South Coast mess but the government will practice a shared approach to managing the environment given its reach. Please do not shoot the messenger!

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  • @Innis

    Where is you partner James Greene? You need to have a reread of what the Ambassador said and when. You are aware that if Barbados is going cap in hand to Canada for aid there will be expectations (strings) attached?

    Like

  • @David

    Just trying to be consistent, I was critical of the number of spokespersons trotted out by the previous Administration on this matter. If a Minister has a lead on this file, he/she should be providing the updates.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Robert MacDonald

    It appears all is, as usual, most of these postings end up as political rantings and I see this is headed in the same direction.
    I thought the topic had to do with the tax for air transportation. I have purchased my tickets and have not paid this new tax and am going to be quite unhappy if presented with a bill when I depart.. I have friends who usually include Barbados in their winter plans, however, due to air tax and room tax are now going to the Dominican Republic.

    Like

  • The post stands on its own, Adrian has expressed a valid concern to which the blogmaster added support. We wait for clarification from the relevant authorities.

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  • @ David August 6, 2018 8:01 AM

    Quote “Jamaica has a landing fee of US20.00 and a departure tax of US35.”

    That is rather cute, instead of a US$55.00 tax for either departure or arrival. Split the US$55 into two separate taxes/fees.

    Maybe we should do something just like that. I am wondering if we are allowed to apply any part these airport users fees to “in-transit” travellers.

    However the real challenge is getting the forex into the coffers of the Central bank; that will really go a long way in getting Barbados right side up. Unfortunately that is what the major hotel brands don’t want as they run their global operations with a local presence.

    Like

  • See previous post, we need quick clarification from Symmonds to avoid another road tax like confusion.

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  • Taxes cdn $140.26 from 06 Sept 2018

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  • @Hants

    What is the breakdown of the tax do you know?

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  • Govt blowing s.h t in every body face and the masses like um so

    So what’s new

    Like

  • Your post is quite relevant and I have tried to draw this to the attention of those responsible for conceptualising and implementing this tax because I know from experience the history of efficiently collecting this tax through third parties have been at disastrous results to the coffers of Government.
    I in mind paying additional taxes if it will help the country but not yo line the pockets of the unscrupulous.

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  • It is a regressive unbearable tax that would bring the tourism industry to its knees

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  • This “departure Tax”( because that’s what it is ) is in addition to all the airport taxes already charged on tickets booked in Barbados . It is not just an ambitious idea , but a totally disastrous one for our Tourism sector. Folks will look for other Caribbean options .. this is suicide.

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  • Charles, the facts bear you out. One airline managed to avoid paying VAT on the Barbados/UK sector for almost three years.

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  • Every year when I would go down to the island the thing that used to grate on me the most would be having to pay that departure tax while dropping off my luggage.Making sure I had that 35 or 50 bajan for each person just seemed so wrong. It felt like it wasnt enough that i had over paid for car rental or hotel rooms etc the island had to get into my pocket one last time before I left…just like death duties. It stopped for a while or they hid it in the ticket price but if they are going ahead with this…. encorporate into the ticket because if it is a stand alone cash grab at departure people are going to be pissed off and will remember that feeling when booking their next holiday.

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  • have the travel advisories been lifted ????, what were they for again??sewage problems on south coast or having your pockets picked at the airport on departure.

    Like

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