The January-December Stayover Expenditure 2018 Report makes very interesting reading, but it does raise a number of unexplained questions.
It is now well over six months since Government introduced a bevy of new tourism taxes on 1st October 2018, including the Airline Travel and Tourism Development Fee (ATTDF) or second departure tax, Room Rate Levy, DTS Product Levy and Shared Accommodation Levy.
In the interest of absolute transparency and securing the undoubting unilateral support of the tourism sector, it was hoped that the administration would have published the figures, to illustrate without question, what additional revenue, the latest taxes have generated.
Without these statistics, it is almost impossible to intelligently compare like-for-like over the last two years.
What also needs clarity is whether the Airline Travel and Tourism Development Fee element is included in the average visitor spend figure? Especially as it forms a legitimate integral component part of the overall holiday cost even though it is ‘hidden’ in the airline ticket cost.
According to published data, Barbados welcomed around 680,000 visitors by air in 2018. Average that out through the three months from1st October until 31st December and that could be 170,000 passengers (bearing in mind December is one our busiest months).
Assuming 80 per cent are paying the higher level of ATTDF at US$70 per person and 20 per cent US$35 at the intra-Caribbean level, that’s a staggering BDS$21 million alone, before you even consider the other imposed taxes.
It is also difficult to understand why Government has chosen to ignore the cruise passenger sector yet again, despite the stated economic crisis situation?
While VAT at 17.5 per cent is levied on all outbound airfares it is not on cruise ship passengers who depart from Bridgetown Port.
Particular mention has been made of a quoted $50 million (BDS$ or US$ was not specified) that could be collected on online purchases, like hotels, villas and car rentals annually, where VAT is due for goods and services that are provided on Barbados.
The $50 million figure is especially puzzling, as 25% of this figure could be payable by a single two property hotel operator alone, annually in VAT contributions on the due accommodation/food and beverage element.
If they are exempted through previously arranged tax concessions, where is the equity and fairness in that?
Of course, if VAT is payable, it should be accounted for and paid, but perhaps part of the reluctance to comply has been created by the inability or unwillingness by Government to repay long due VAT refunds to those entities, who have already fully complied previously.
While 2018 generally shows an encouraging increase in average spend on many areas over 2017, there are some disturbing contradictions.
Visitors spend is down on souvenirs (-5.3%), transportation (-3.3%) and perhaps most concerning, entertainment/recreation (-1.2%).
While in the last case the percentage decline is small, when you factor- in the new DTS 2.5 per cent Product Levy payable for three or the twelve month period, then the gap is substantially increased.
Perhaps this sub-sector needs some additional attention?
Never thought I would agree with Mrs Ram on anything, but this time she is right. Why is the government compulsorily obtaining land to hand over to a private company? This is highly unusual. It is not only crony capitalism, it looks to me like theft. This is the real principle that should be discussed.
Does anyone know the square footage of this piece of land?
Hal is correct but wait a minute….. she ‘valued it’ at $2M for tax purposes with BRA…… now asking $30M instead of the $12M offer…. should BRA retroactively assess her for taxes on $30M???? LOL!!
Why doesn’t private developer buy real estate directly from Mrs Ram?
Why use Govt to acquire the property?
Is Govt now a real estate agency?
How come tiny Bermuda can boast of such World Sports-Tourism events while ‘big’ Barbados can’t??
Bermuda = Area: 20.54 mi² Population: 65,441
Barbados = Area: 166 mi² Population: 280,000
(1) Bermuda will be the exclusive tourism partner of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, beginning with the 2019 U.S. Open in New York City, under a multi-year agreement between the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced Wednesday.
Bermuda will benefit from a “significant” presence at the famed tennis event under the agreement, which provides Bermuda with on-court signage in Arthur Ashe Stadium, representation on U.S. Open digital properties and social media channels, plus “on-site activation space” for consumer engagement.
The court signage will provide Bermuda with “significant” exposure during 100-plus hours of live coverage in top Bermuda markets including the U.S., Canada and U.K. along with 100 other countries.
Meanwhile, during the two-week tournament the on-site activation space will offer engagement with “more than 800,000 fans, 56 percent of whom are from the New York metro market,” said officials. New York is Bermuda’s top visitor source market, located within a 90-minute flight of the territory.
(2) MS Amlin AG Bermuda Branch, a global (re)insurer with offices in Bermuda, is pleased to announce its title sponsorship of the ITU World Triathlon Series in Bermuda on 28th April, 2018. The event will be branded as the ‘MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda’. The prestigious ITU event in Bermuda is the second of eight stops on the World Triathlon Series circuit.
(3) The 2017 America’ Cup in sailing. The America’s Cup is the oldest international sporting trophy.
….just to mention a few!
I am not sure that I can give you a sensible answer. Billy Griffith (a Barbadian) used to head Bermuda Tourism and has for the last three years been CEO of the Barbados Tourism Authority, now the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.
Sometimes we call the middle man a pounce. Did Hyatt make an offer for the adjoining property? Or, was it a decision made by the tourism/government authorities? If it was a government decision, would the cost be another gift from taxpayers to the business class?
Let us assume that Mrs Ram wants Bds$30m for her property and the government is offering $12m, eventually the two settle on $21m.
Who pays? Hyatt, the government or some godfather?
ks makes a very legitimate point, but does the tax dept allow the owner to value there own property down there, In ontario mpac sets the assessment and to get it lowered you have to fight tooth and nail.
Miss Ram is from that class if she sniffs the opportunity to make a dime she will press for it.
David have you learned nothing from trump, sometimes you just have to walk away from the deal and build somewhere else. lol
The government is under pressure to close the deal. The developer in this case has already purchased the property adjoining? The government sees the opportunity to remove an eyesore read the liquidation center? Some will say it is a win win. That said it looks like litigation will stop or slow this project like many others before. It is how we roll in Barbados.
May 16, 2019 6:49 AM
The government is under pressure to close the deal. The developer in this case has already purchased the property adjoining? The government sees the opportunity to remove an eyesore read the liquidation center? Some will say it is a win win. (Quote)
Is this for real? How can a thinking person come up with this crass nonsense.
Mrs. Ram is not a fool over the years she has lay in bed with all of them and she knows all their secrets and the games they play
Mrs. Ram going move heaven and hell before she allow govt to steal her land for any purpose.
Recently land grabbing and land swapping by theft has been associated to known members in this govt with suspicious dealings attached
Here we are talking about the speed and authoritarian nature of this government and its weaponising of town and country planning, yet for weeks we have had a number 1686of blogs about a poor black man whose home has been greatly affected by some council estate English woman (see Open Letter to Duguid from Mr Blackman) and no-one is making the connection. This is Barbados. ‘Justice’ for Hyatt, none for the poor black man.
I have just been reading about slave revolts in Barbados in 1675, 1692 and threats of rebellion in 1683 and 1686. I hope it does not happen, but the re-enslavement of people in 2019 will also lead to rebellion.
I say again, Barbados is a failed state. It will end in tears.
The PM has asked for tourism revenue to be 4 billion. I wonder what are the plans to achieve this?