Barbados Tourism Development Act being boosted
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday March 1, 2021 – New additions are being made to the list of tax exempt items provided under the Barbados Tourism Development Act.
This is according to Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, who disclosed recently that these amendments were all part of efforts to strengthen the sector.
"This Act makes available a wide range of concessions to tourism investors. Tourism is a very vibrant and dynamic industry; the [Act] has to be flexible in order to keep up with the demands of the industry. Some items required by the sector that were deemed as luxury items, five, [or] 10 years ago are no longer deemed as such.
"Recognising this fact, and acknowledging the strident lobby from the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, my Ministry is currently fine tuning a proposal for consideration of the Cabinet, which recommends the expansion of the range of items that investors and operators in the sector can access free of duty under the Act," he said during the recent 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony for Atlantis Submarines Barbados.
During the ceremony the tourism minister lauded Atlantis Submarines Barbados for its contribution to diversifying the industry and encouraged the company to "build on its offerings" and thanked Atlantis Submarines International for the faith it had shown by setting up in Barbados a quarter of a century ago.
Minister stressed diversification and niche tourism as the way of the future if tourism in Barbados was to continue to evolve and remain competitive.
"Without the product, there is no tourism. If we wish [for] tourism in Barbados to survive, we must place great emphasis on product development...Barbados is paying special attention to cultural heritage tourism, sports tourism, faith-based tourism and events tourism," the minister noted.
He also announced that outreach programmes would be undertaken which "aimed to sensitise the local community about the benefits of the UNESCO sites to Barbados and to Barbadians" and the Barbados Tourism Authority was looking into the potential of religious conferences, retreats and ceremonies being hosted here.
Sealy also highlighted sports as having potential which "cannot be overstated".
"We have a long history of excellence in sports, cricket stands out, but it is noteworthy that there are presently over 60 disciplines of sports practised on the island. With this strong base, the development of sports tourism is one of the primary strategies being undertaken by government to bolster the Barbadian economy, particularly over the trough periods - over the past two decades, several world class sports events have been held in Barbados," he remarked.
Sealy further revealed that the Ministry of Tourism, with the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat, was currently developing a strategy for sports tourism in Barbados, which was expected to be completed shortly and to provide a blueprint for this niche area.