Minister responds to airport tax concerns

Minister responds to airport tax concerns

Minister for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation, Guy Joseph, has been responding to concerns that the reintroduction of the airport development  tax could hurt the tourism industry.

“”Anything could happen that could  hurt the tourism industry – a hurricane could, crime is affecting it,” he told reports, adding that there are a number of factors that can affect tourism.

Joseph said the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and others have their perspective on what should happen, but the government of Saint Lucia has a different perspective as to the impact of the measure.

He asserted that the tax does not put Saint Lucia out of the range of other countries.

“It is not that it is so exorbitant compared to other countries and if that was the case, why did all the other countries grow more than us over the last few years – even those that are charging more than us? They grew more as a tourism destination than Saint Lucia did,” Joseph told reporters yesterday.

“We are concerned. We wish that you didn’t have to pay any taxes, but the reality is – it is something that is needed at this point in time and to prejudge what the outcome is, I  don’t think is the right way to go. I think a year from now we will have the opportunity to review and to be able to  say ‘Well if we have that level of negative impact on the economy, then should we change it around?'” He stated.

Joseph said an assessment cannot be made until data is obtained.

He said when the tax was removed a corresponding increase in the number of arrivals was not observed.

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet,  last year blasted  the former St Lucia Government, asserting that it  should be “embarrassed and ashamed” at its decision to rescind  the airport development tax, which has cost the island in excess of EC$200 million  in revenue.

Chastanet promised at the time to reintroduce the measure as of April 1, 2017, despite opposition calls not to do so.

The airport development tax will be reinstated at a rate of US$35 for persons travelling outside of Caricom countries and the French Caribbean islands. The tax had been suspended by the Kenny Anthony administration in 2012.

 

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13 Comments

  1. Sad-But-True
    February 14, 2017 at 5:42 pm Reply

    Paix Chew, Vieux mal Coolie Voleur.

    1. Anonymous
      February 14, 2017 at 6:27 pm Reply

      Sad and blue …you alone dat would write poop like that…

      1. Anon1
        February 15, 2017 at 9:42 am Reply

        Am no fan of “Sad-But-True” but definitely know he’s not the only one who would write the truth oops sorry poop like that.

        SBT does come out what with some mmmmm I’ll say weird comments.

        However a lot of his comments do make sense.

  2. Anonymous
    February 14, 2017 at 7:03 pm Reply

    That was a big blunder of the Kenny Anthony administration to rescind this tax. It was a rather stupid and ill – conceive move!

  3. Anonymous
    February 14, 2017 at 8:27 pm Reply

    Guy two teeth

  4. Anonymous
    February 14, 2017 at 10:00 pm Reply

    It always takes a crook to know a thiff

  5. 666
    February 15, 2017 at 12:41 am Reply

    Almost every airport in the world has some type of tax, for development etc.

  6. Anonymous
    February 15, 2017 at 6:05 am Reply

    Vol Air will be using the airport to make money.

  7. Agatha Bobb
    February 15, 2017 at 9:34 am Reply

    As a St. Lucian living in the UK and who is now retired, I am horrified by the extortionate amount charged for airfare and especially hotel accommodation to the island. I can holiday or buy a property in Europe or the States for much less than in St. Lucia. With Brexit on the horizon and the falling Pound against the USD $ I will be extremely surprised if ordinary folks will be able to afford to visit or even live in St. Lucia. An increase in airport tax just makes matters worse. If you want to increase the number of visitors reduce your hotel and house prices so that retirees and hard working people can afford to holiday or ourchase a oroperty and therby make a meaningful contribution to the country.

    1. Anon1
      February 15, 2017 at 9:57 am Reply

      Agatha, you talking about two points here.

      The St Lucian Government has NO power to influence airlines fares – that’s not they role (no pun intended)

      The airlines are the ones who set their prices and build in the destinations tax associated. They can either in corporate it into the airfare leave it out and passengers pay when they leave – like departure tax.

      I would suggest you contacting the airlines directly to express your concerns.

      With regards to the Hotels on island your point is slightly more valid and I say slightly.

      Because that’s another cock up by our Governments past and present.

      They are so keen to create jobs for St Lucians (rightfully so) that they give these hotels sometimes indefinite TAX HOLIDAYS.

      So we get employment (minimum wage or less) for our people but then the Treasury suffers because these hotels don’t pay tax.

      Swings and round a bouts hey.

      As retiree you should definitely be able to purchase land in St Lucia. There are still places in St Lucia where avoidable plots can be found.

      You’ve got to be quick though because the way our Governments are going (Red and Yellow) they will SELL OUT the entire island to investors.

      Taxes are there for a reason, to raise revenue for the Treasury, if we do away with taxes then there’s no capital or less for the Gov carry out projects.

      Swings and round a bouts again.

      1. Anonymous
        February 15, 2017 at 2:02 pm Reply

        Thanks for your response. I take your point about the airfares and will tackle BA and VA but not sure what one voice will achieve. With respect to the cost of hotel accommodation, as you rightly say the government (of any colour) should make the RIGHT DEAL for the people of St. Lucia and not allow the Investors to dictate workers’ pay and on top of that allowing them a TAX HOLIDAY!!! Tourism is the main economy. No wonder the Treasury has no money!!

  8. Agatha Bobb
    February 15, 2017 at 9:35 am Reply

    As a St. Lucian living in the UK and who is now retired, I am horrified by the extortionate amount charged for airfare and especially hotel accommodation to the island. I can holiday or buy a property in Europe or the States for much less than in St. Lucia. With Brexit on the horizon and the falling Pound against the USD $ I will be extremely surprised if ordinary folks will be able to afford to visit or even live in St. Lucia. An increase in airport tax just makes matters worse. If you want to increase the number of visitors reduce your hotel and house prices so that retirees and hard working people can afford to holiday or ourchase a oroperty and therby make a meaningful contribution to the country.

  9. Anon1
    February 15, 2017 at 10:00 am Reply

    Guy you said it ““”Anything could happen that could hurt the tourism industry – a hurricane could, crime is affecting it,” he told reports, adding that there are a number of factors that can affect tourism.”

    So tell us why the HELL is this Gov not investing in AGRICULTURE – grow some Cannabis and sell to the Pharmaceutical companies!

    Its BILLION dollar industry and take note the industry (LEGAL) has only been created over the last few years.

    See how much revenue Jamaica has projected to earn from this industry!

    Wake up and smell the ganja!

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