Tourism Success Rule #1: Never create an expectation that you don’t fulfill.
From an entirely tourism perspective, what can the Minister of Finance do next week to help kick start a beleaguered sector that has been systematically smashed to the ground with unbudgeted massive increases in operational costs, while attempting to survive in a dwindling market?
It is a very big question and clearly for a Government that is experiencing the most challenging fiscal malaise for decades, the options are limited.
There can be few hoteliers who fail to recognise that much of our plant desperately needs to be re-vitalised and upgraded. But with 15 consecutive months of declining long stay visitor arrivals, widespread discounting of rooms and escalating expenses, how can this be achieved?
In the recently announced Ten-Point Plan, those tourism partners who qualify, will welcome the small rebates in electricity and water charges, but realistically how far do they compensate for previous increases of 72 per cent and 60 per cent respectively. Let alone a 50 per cent increase in land taxes, 16.6 per cent hike in VAT and prolonged delays in re-paying agreed VAT refunds.
The proposed APD Voucher, seemingly unique to any tourism driven Caribbean destination, was cleverly linked to a minimum 14 night stay ‘at participating hotels’. It is still unclear after declaring that ‘villa type accommodation will be available for marketing’, if this segment will benefit from any subsidised voucher. After all, these guests also eat in our restaurants, rent cars, shop and patronise the attractions. Continue reading