Opposition Spokesperson for Tourism and Travel Service Development, Mr. Ed Bartlett today said that the near JA$6 billion in taxes dropped on the tourism sector in the recent Budget Presentation by the Portia Simpson-Miller led administration is ill-advised, punitive and bound to damage the only sector in Jamaica that has shown consistent growth over the last five years. He said that tourists to Jamaica will now rank among the highest taxed visitors in the region.
Mr. Bartlett said that the tourism sector is being mistakenly treated as an industry with quantifiable output that is taxable rather than as a series of economic activities that generates revenues in many directions and acts as a catalyst for economic growth. He pointed out that the imposition of the taxes directly on tourists, who spends on a range of goods and services while in Jamaica, negates the very important catalytic role of the sector.
Mr. Bartlett noted that already JA$10 billion in taxes are extracted directly from tourists on an annualized basis through:
1. Approximately JA$4 billion in Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) charges
2. JA$3 billion in GCT
3. JA$2 billion in departure taxes, and;
4. JA$1 billion in other taxes and charges
Extracting another JA$6 billion in taxes is simply ridiculous, counter-productive and will only make the sector uncompetitive in an already lackluster world economy and travel market.
Mr. Bartlett called on Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, Minister of Finance Dr. Peter Phillips and Minister of Tourism Dr. Wykeham McNeill to work immediately with stakeholders and iron out an equitable and sustainable formula for taxation of the tourism sector. Therefore, today’s meeting between Sector interests and the Minister of Tourism will be fruitless as the government does not understand how to tax the sector.
Mr. Bartlett said that while he recognizes the need for the sector to contribute more, he stressed that it cannot be done to the detriment of the industry which is the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg for the Jamaican economy.
For further information contact:
Ed Bartlett MP
Opposition Spokesman for Tourism and Travel Service Development
Posted By :Jamaica Labour party
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