Barbados government website incorrectly states visitors can bring 200 cigarettes duty free

Welcome to your Barbados vacation… Is there anything else we can do to piss you off upon arrival?

Trip is probably the world’s premier travel website for “been there, done that” advice on destinations and there is some discussion going right now about tourists being ambushed by Barbados Customs.

It seems that the Barbados Government website advises tourists that they may bring 200 cigarettes into the country duty free… but when folks arrive they discover that’s not true and are asked to pay big duties.

The Barbados Government website sets up the tourists with bad information and the Customs people pick ’em off when they arrive. Like shooting fish in de barrel!

Apparently these discussions about how unfair Barbados is have been going on for months at the Trip Advisor website. To make things worse, the magazine for Virgin Atlantic reprinted the incorrect information from the Barbados Government website.

We checked, and sure enough the Barbados Government Integrated Portal advises that 200 cigarettes are duty free. Ha! Welcome to Barbados, suckers!

Barbados Government portal Aug 28, 2010 (click for larger)

Duh… is there nobody at the Barbados Tourism Authority assigned to “internet patrol”?

I think it was Adrian Loveridge who stated that something like 90% of all tourists consult the internet when planning vacations. (I might be wrong about the percentage but it’s huge and I’m sure Adrian will correct us if we’re wrong.)

In light of that, shouldn’t the BTA assign someone to cruise the most popular travel forums about Barbados and correct stuff that needs correcting?

Come on BTA… it’s only about 70% of our foreign exchange you’re playing with!

Will someone PLEASE call the BTA or the Barbados Government and have them change their website to reflect the truth?

Why is this always so hard to achieve even minimum performance levels from those government people entrusted with our tourism industry?

From Trip discussion forum Barbados Customs

“I recently arrived at Barbados airport and was stopped by a custom officer. She asked if I had any cigarettes and I answered truthfully that I had purchased 200 at Gatwick also my husband had purchased 200 too. She informed me that I would have to pay £50 duty for these cigarettes. I argued that the website had stated that I could bring in 200 and also the booklet on Virgin plane had said the same. she informed me that the law as recently changed and that no cigarettes were permitted. She confiscated the cigarettes…”

Another tourist to Barbados said…

“When we arrived last weds the q for customs was horrendous. They were searching bags and the guy in front of us was told he would have to pay $120 for 400 ciggies. We were stuck there about an hour which was not a great welcome to the country!”


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

15 responses to “Barbados government website incorrectly states visitors can bring 200 cigarettes duty free

  1. Donald Duck Esq,

    Visitors should ask the customs officer to show them the legislation that authorises them to collect the tax on the cigarettes. They will be amazed at what they find!!!!

  2. yatinkiteasy

    A friend of mine from Italy was charged US$38 at the Airport for a Carton (200) of Marlboro cigs he had bought duty free in England. It was his first trip to Barbados, and his first impression was not good..his comment was”Barbados very expensive!”.
    This needs to be cleared up. Does the money really go into the Government`s hands, or do the receipt books just go missing?

  3. yatinkiteasy

    I`ve looked at over a dozen websites from a Google search “barbados customs duties”…they all state 200 cigs are allowed. If there was a change , when was it, and what are the duties a visitor will be expected to pay? This is not good enough for a country that relies so heavily on Tourism.
    This really makes us look like a Banana Republic…but then again , we are not, as we import our Bananas!

  4. Adrian Loveridge

    Mr. David Rice President/CEO of the BTA is aware of the error and has acknowledged that they are in the process of correcting it.
    Well spotted!

  5. No sense as usual

    Barbados must be one of the few places in the world where there one is not allowed to bring in duty-free cigarettes to the island as a visitor. Once again, another useless, pointless, waste-of-time piece of legislation that does nothing for this country except allow customs officers to stick their chests out and feel powerful. The revenue generated from this piece of law must be minimal at best.

    The theory, I guess, is that visitors then have to pay through the nose, along with everything else, and that money would then come into the government coffers…..and out the back door again.

    What is this country coming to? When are we going to have a government that is truly concerned about the future of this country and not about themselves?

    In light of the PM’s situation, I believe that an election will be called, and I hope that the outcome is a hung parliament. Perhaps then they will be forced to keep each other in check and maybe the ministers will actually focus on being effective, and actually earning their salaries (rather than adding to them every month).

    Wake up and smell the coffee people. It is YOUR country. You pay their salaries with YOUR taxes and then allow them to do whatever they like. Then you stick your head in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening……if you want to see change, you have to be change.

  6. Weston

    Does this mean that an arriving visitor cannot buy duty free cigarettes at the shop here in the arrivals hall? If so, why is the shop selling them? If they can, is there some regulation which differentiates between duty free from overseas and duty free after landing? That would surprise me. Looks like this change hasn’t been properly thought out.

  7. Donald Duck Esq,

    Dear Mr loveridge

    You better tell mr rice to check and see if the government has amended the legislation to remove the exemption. It may be that the web site information is correct!!! I guess no one thought that this may be the case!!!!

  8. BFP

    Hey D. Duck

    Tell us more please. Don’t be coy. Did the government amend the legislation or not? How would we find an accurate answer to that question? That would be a huge story and you’re not the first to mention it. What’s the truth?

  9. Bad Bob

    I have on good authority, my mole at the airport, that our duly appointed officers were told to “destroy all confiscated ciggies.” Which, is best accomplished by burning, and therefore only makes sense to allow same officers to take the cigs home and destroy them while drinkin’ rum and watching the telly. Puff away, lads, puff away.

  10. From youth of Canada

    Good Morning Honourable president and government,
    i have come across this video about how change can occur, through simple acts of kindness 🙂

    Here a link to a song presentation to promote it.

  11. Adrian Loveridge

    Mr. DD Esq.

    This could explain why its taking so long to change the national website which still shows a duty free allowance of 200 (one carton) cigarettes.
    If the law has NOT been changed then the scores of visitors who have been charged duty should be able to get a refund?
    I would have thought it would have been better to have made a public statement clarifying exactly what the situation is, rather than let the subject fester on TripAdvisor.

  12. Baz

    The national website is still unchanged. Anyone wanting to contact the Government to query this supposed inaccuracy will also have a hard time, as the Portal’s “contact” facility does not work.

  13. Pingback: Adrian Loveridge’s Tourism MATTERS: Barbados Tourism Minister talks about Social Media – the reality is quite different « Barbados Free Press

  14. paul

    I will cancel my holiday if i cant bring or smoke my cigs anymore

  15. CJ

    first impressions last and i too was told to pay 35US for a carton of cigs in purchased for 26US back home. i left the cigs at the airport as i was too infuriated to even discuss the enforcement of a non existent law. Here in barbados i purchased the same carton for 50 US. Seems like the only people winning in this situation is the bajan supplier of these same said cigs, because it seems like they are forcing you to buy their cigs as you would think twice to bring your own.