Is there anyone awake at the Barbados Tourism Authority?

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Some months ago the Barbados Tourism Authority finally published a list of licensed hotels and a limited number of other accommodation providers. Sadly, I only saw it in the press and failed to understand why the agency did not post this latest listing on the official website, where the majority of the end users could access this information at any time, prior to booking.

There seems absolutely no point having a national website unless it is maintained. A simple example is that three months after being granted unilateral extraordinary concessions Sandals Barbados does not yet appear on the visitbarbados.org, accommodation section.

In fact, the site is so far out-of-date the location is still shown as Casuarina Beach Club, even ignoring its brief history as a Couples Resort!

It is quite frankly staggering the array of alternative accommodation that is widely advertised on the internet, with absolutely no indication whether these properties meet the same insurance, fire and health requirements that our registered lodging offerings are required under law to comply with.

Tax avoidance or Tax Fraud… where is the line?

What is also alarming is the number of establishments that make no mention of VAT (Value Added Tax). 

Could it be their annual revenue gleamed from rentals does not meet the minimum trading threshold of $80,000 per year?

In a surprising number of cases, nightly rentals exceed US$400 a night, so a total of 100 nightly lettings annually would already place them in a VAT liable situation.

There could also be at least two other explanations: That many owners rent their individual properties through a villa/apartment/condominium agency, who then charge and account for any VAT element, or payment is collected offshore and therefore due taxes are avoided altogether.

According to the Laws of Barbados – LRO 1997 – CAP. 342 section 25 (1)

‘No person shall operate any tourist accommodation unless that person first applies for and obtains a licence issued in accordance with the regulations’.

Section 33 (1) states ‘a person who operates any tourist accommodation in contravention of Section 25 is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $10,000 or to imprisonment for 1 year and, where the offence is continued after conviction, that person is guilty of a continuing offence and is liable to a fine of $500 for each day during which the offence is continued’.

If tourism accommodation rental licensing remains a function of the BTA under their mandate, perhaps it would be cost-effective for Government to put more resources into what has clearly been an underfunded Quality Assurance department for as long as I can remember.

From a marketing perspective, it also must be almost impossible to maximise arrival number potential and length of stay without having an accurate database of all lodging options.

Government could easily recoup any additional expenses by levying a small registration fee and this would enable them to ensure that all minimum standards are met and effectively demonstrate the industry is properly regulated.

Once this takes place, I am sure the administration will then cast the tax net over a greater number of players and the monies raised from this exercise could be utilised to increase marketing of the destination, benefiting more people and showing some willingness by the policymakers to level the playing field.

7 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

7 responses to “Is there anyone awake at the Barbados Tourism Authority?

  1. Anonymous

    Websites in Barbados are at best amateur and at worse useless so nothing out of the ordinary there then!

  2. How Much? !!!

    Nothing out of the ordinary with the BTA website: except the price.

  3. yatinkiteasy

    A complete waste of time for anyone trying to find out what to do in Barbados. Under Events, they show only 2 events for the year…Holetown Festival and Reggae in April.NOTHING about Crop Over, Kadooment….our Major Festival and tourist attraction.Whats wrong at the BTA, ignorance or Incompetence? Or Both?

  4. yatinkiteasy

    Just found that 7 Events are shown…however, no mention of Crop Over.

  5. Willie & Rib Bone

    Me and Willie bin away fo’ awhile ’cause of a misunder the standin’ of the polis of a nayboring island who don’t understand the religus freedom dat we engender from smokin’ weed. To be sayin’ dat we ain’t high preests ’cause our boat have 500 kelos [what ever dat is!] of high grade carnabas be jes plain silly.
    Anyhow, we back thanls to our frends in da local legal flim flammery. SoWillie got a cuzzin hoo jes got a new computer and he sayin’ dat it time dat Willie and Rib Bone Enterprises LLD get into da travel and entertanement bidness, you all know dat we got many contaxs in da entertanement bidness doo to our relatshunship with Sasha, Tanya, Opal and Madame Queen hoo work out of dat shack on the coast road neer to da rum shack where we got our office in da parkin lot. So we gonna have a web syte to book in da tourism what da BTA dont bother wit. Sinse da polis always be bothern us ’cause we ain’t pay da “FEES” what a bidness need [accordin to offiser weezel] we gonna do last minit bookins and what dey call flash mobs. So what we got plan is women, rum, and mebbe we think of what else gentlmen enjoy at dey luncheon brakes.
    More to follow as we get da WRB web up an runnin.
    BTA watch out. Dat’s us gainin’ on you.
    Willie & Rib Bone LLD Entrapanoors Extraordnary back at last

  6. Repeat visitor

    Barbados.org a ridiculous website that has many errors….incl. many lodgings that no longer exist…

  7. Adrian Loveridge

    Repeat visitor – barbados.org is NOT the official national website. visitbarbados.org is.