Minister Sealy says hold on
Hold a little longer for the promised utility rebates and at least be thankful for Government’s moves to lower tourism sector costs.
That is the message Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy is sending to the tourism stakeholders as he sees assured that a year-old undertaking for rebates will be fulfilled.
Two days ago, past president of the Barbados Hotel &Tourism Association (BHTA), Patricia Affonso-Dass, called on Government to honour a five per cent water and electricity five per cent rebate promised lin a ten-point tourism boost plan last year.
Sealy said last night: “It takes a while in order to get the implementation organized; it cuts across several ministries. It’s not only a tourism matter . . . [it involves] the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Finance and so on . . . and we are doing everything possible to try to make inputs to the sector as reasonable as possible.”
He was speaking to members of the media at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion where British travel agency, International Travel Connections, was holding a gala dinner on its 40th anniversary and celebrating its outstanding agents.
Sealy said he sees a silver lining for Barbados’ tourism as “the confidence levels are coming back”.
“Investor confidence would not be there unless people are satisfied that we have the correct regime, and we’re going to continue to do that,” he said.
“I think that the sector should celebrate the fact that we are working towards the situation where all the imposts for our taxes on the inputs to the sector would be free of any imposts. That is a remarkable feat.”
He also spoke of Government’s involvement in the redevelopment of Sam Lord’s Castle.
“The funds that were identified for the Almond Village Project [now being bought by Sandals], will be redirected to Sam Lord’s. The only little hold-up now is because lands adjacent to Sam Lord’s we also want to include in that project, so you can have possibly as many as 1,000 rooms on that site,” Sealy added.
“That speaks to overall levels of confidence in the sector, albeit Government is leading that one. The interest is keen in terms of people who want to partner with us.”