More Evidence That Barbados Is Running Out Of Money
No matter how the politicians try to hide new taxes… by breaking them down into smaller “license fees” or by setting up government corporations to construct or manage infrastructure, and then letting the corporations charge “service fees” – its really all just taxes.
And you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, folks – because the piggy bank is empty, but the government just keeps on spending!
Our friend Adrian Loveridge isn’t fooled though – and he again questions the wisdom of a government that tries to shake-down tourists who are the very life-blood of the Barbados economy. He also questions the apparent inequity and inconsistency of government subsidies that favour large corporations over smaller, independent tourism businesses.
Take it away, Adrian…
Of course a privatised company, Grantley Adams International Airport inc., could not collect taxes, that is a Government prerogative, so the name has to be changed to a ‘service fee’.
But I wonder again if the announced increase of 140% including the additional BDS$5 (US$2.50) security charge has been thought through?
To maintain visitor arrival numbers, the Barbadian taxpayer has over the last five years been forced to pay massive subsidies of up to US$300 in the United States and UK Pounds 150 in the United Kingdom for every person booking the Best of Barbados package.
Just in the fall period of 2006 alone the 15,000 stated Brits that were expected to book this package would have cost the taxpayer BDS$8.4 million (US$4.2 million).
Based on declared average stay and spend by the Barbados Statistical Service, each subsidised Best of Barbados arrival would have had to spend more than four times what the normal visitor does for Government to recoup these subsidies in taxes.
As the mass of visitor arrival numbers are largely driven by Tour Operators or Wholesalers, I wonder if the policymakers have really thought through this massive ‘service fee’ increase?
Will those thousands of holiday makers that have already booked (and paid) for their package happily accept the departure fee increase or will they expect the tour operators to absorb it?
Based on the viability and lack of profitability of tour operators in our largest market, the UK, these companies will be very reluctant to absorb yet further costs.
And to add insult to injury, we are told this more than doubling of a departure tax is necessary to help pay for the improvements to the airport.
Huge amounts have also been spent on Bridgetown Port. Only last week a big fanfare was made over the official opening of berth number five which cost a quoted BDS$12 million (US$6 million) alone.
Will the privatised port authority also be raising ‘service fees’ to users of that facility by 140 per cent?
This would certainly assist in repaying the vast additional investment in the port and possibility help cover the recently announced additional subsidies given to the world’s largest and most profitable cruise ship company, Carnival Corporation, to prop-up passengers arrival numbers.
The Nation News: From $55 To $60!
Barbados Free Press: Barbados Tourism Killer – Airport Departure Tax To Double
Photo: Grantley Adams Airport, Barbados – via MicroSoft Flight Simulator. Soon, this will be the preferred method of visiting the airport. 🙂