[sustainable-tourism] Fwd: Travel tax hike comes into effect
>From: aduncan@...best wishes
>Sender: "sidsnet-tourism-newswire mailinglist (owner)"
>Date: 3 Jun 1999 00:16:09 GMT
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>Subject: Travel tax hike comes into effect
>Jamaica Gleaner June 2, 1999
>Travel tax hike comes into effect
> THE HIKE in departure tax from $750 to $1,000 came into
> effect yesterday despite pleas from the tourist sector for
> Finance Minister, Dr. Omar Davies, to forego the increase.
> It comes at the start of the summer season when thousands
> of Jamaicans use the long school break to take their
> families abroad on vacation.
> The Financial Gleaner reported on April 30 that Government
> was being urged by the Jamaica Association of Travel
> Agents (JATA) and other tourism groups to review the new
> travel tax announced in April.
> Tourism interests were quick to voice their disapproval of the
> tax rise.
> The Jamaica Labour Party's spokesman on Tourism and the
> Environment, Ed Bartlett, reiterated his call for the
> Government to have a "fresh look on the total tax package
> levied on the tourist to the country."
> He said the decision by Government to increase the
> departure tax to $1,000 or US$26 per person, coupled with a
> room tax of 6.5 per cent, service charge of 12 per cent and a
> US$15 cruise head tax, makes the Jamaican tourist the
> most heavily taxed in the entire region of 27 countries.
> In the case of the Bahamas, departure tax is US$15, room
> tax 10 per cent, service charge 15 per cent and cruise head
> tax US$15. In Barbados, departure tax is US$13, room tax
> 7.5 per cent, service charge 15 per cent and cruise head tax
> Cuba charges US$20 for departure tax and there are no
> other charges, while the Dominican Republic charges
> US$10 for departure tax, 13 per cent for room tax, a 10 per
> cent service charge and no cruise head tax.
> Chairman of Air Jamaica and of Sandals Resorts
> International Gordon "Butch" Stewart also chided the
> Government for its "unreasonable" increase on the departure
> "We are already the single highest departure tax of any
> country in the world, now we are trying to be twice as high.
> It is going to restrict business especially for those who travel
> as a group," he said.
> JATA asked Government to consider a reduction against the
> background of a previous increase and unofficial slippage of
> the dollar which was pushing air fares upward.
> However, a Ministry of Finance spokesman said on Monday
> that the Ministry was unaware of any official or other
> representation to the Minister regarding a stay in the
> implementation of the tax hike. The increase would go
> through as recorded in the Ministry paper.
> Dr. Davies told the House of Representa-tives in April that
> the tax was being moved from $750 to $1,0000 in a bid to
> raise $350 million for Government coffers.
> In the Financial Gleaner report of April 30, JATA president,
> Janice Collins, said," It is an unnecessary burden for
> travellers. We are already at one of the highest travel taxes
> in the world."
> JATA was concerned that there was a shift away from the
> original idea of a tax on travel aimed to support the upgrade
> of airport facilities and towards develeoping a source of
> revenue for Government.
> Government now gets tax from the trade in the form of
> stamp duty amounting to $600 on each ticket costing more
> than $10,000 and $400 on a ticket costing less than
> Children under two years of age are exempt from the
> departure tax.
> Miss Collins said that though customers had not yet reacted
> to the news of the increase. It would come home to them
> when travellers were called upon to pay the tax as it came
> into effect.
>To post a submission please email tourism-newswire@...
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