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Concessions wait

Hotels unlikely to get tax breaks this week as promised

Anxious hoteliers may have to wait a little longer to access the tax breaks that Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler promised they would get their hands on this week.

   President of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association Sunil Chatrani told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that members had not yet received the concessions, similar to what Jamaican hotel chain Sandals has been granted.

   When Minister Sinckler addressed the BHTA’s quarterly general meeting last week, he assured hoteliers they could consider the concessions granted, and he would be putting provisions in place to ensure they get them this week.

Sunil Chatrani

Sunil Chatrani

   Chatrani said even though efforts were being made to make it happen, it was unlikely that the concessions could come through by tomorrow.

  “We are working with the Government to get the legislation [Tourism Development Act] right. We are making efforts at attempting to get them [concessions] this week, but realistically we may get them some time next week,”
the hotel association president added.

  Several efforts by Barbados TODAY to reach Sinckler were unsuccessful.

    It was while addressing the BHTA’s third quarterly general meeting last Wednesday that he said although the proposed changes to the Tourism Development Act, under which the concessions were to be granted, would not come into legal force until next month, he would instruct the following day that the appropriate letters be issued to the relevant Government agencies, under Section 67 B of the Income Tax Act, so the concessions could take effect.

   Sinckler said then that he would meet with the BHTA and officials from his ministry and other departments to ensure all administrative arrangements were put in place to fully execute the concessions.

   Hoteliers have to meet a list of conditions in order to get and maintain the incentives.

   The BHTA said it had been waiting for the relief for months now and a number of local hotel operators have already budgeted to spend more than $40 million in refurbishments to further enhance their offerings.

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