Hoteliers to access concessions on more items
Hoteliers could soon access the duty-free concessions on food and beverages promised by Government.
Chairman of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association Sunil Chatrani made the disclosure today as he told Barbados TODAY that to date, the approximately 20 hotels that have qualified for the concessions so far were getting duty-free on alcoholic beverages only.
In order to access the concessions, hoteliers must first apply for special licenses from the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA), and Chatrani explained that assurances were given recently that more items would be added to the list following a delay that resulted from a request from BRA for clarification on the customs revenue code used for the properties.
“There is a licensing process and for the licensing process approximately 20 hotels have been able to qualify to access the concessions. Of those 20 hotels the majority of them are getting alcoholic beverages duty free but nothing else has been extended as yet,” Chatrani told Barbados TODAY in an interview this afternoon.
“The BTII [Barbados Tourism Investment Inc.] has invested in systems and people to facilitate the addition of the other food and beverage items but to date the only thing being accessed by those 20 hotels are alcoholic beverages,” he said.
Of particular concern to the hoteliers is the fact that they were still not able to get the concessions on a range of products including meat, despite an agreement to allow them to import a list of tourism related items while the regulations and procedures were being implemented under the second schedule of the Tourism Development Act (TDA).
Chatrani told Barbados TODAY that during the Social Partnership meeting held on July 31, hoteliers were given the assurance by Government that more items would be added to the list this month.
“Approximately two weeks ago at the full Social Partnership meeting it was said that we would have other items coming on to the list within about two weeks. So I would expect that this week, if not next week, to see some more items on the list,” said a hopeful Chatrani.
“The main thing is that this is the slow season and we are preparing in terms of renovations, but I would hate to see that we go into the high season again without these concessions in place,” he added.
Chatrani maintained that the high costs of food and beverage contributed to the difficulty that hoteliers faced in realizing the necessary saving to upkeep their properties. Therefore, he said, they were counting on the incentives to reduce their costs so they could renovate their properties, many of which were below the standard they needed to be.
“There are approximately 25 hotels that are doing renovations this year on the basis that we were going to get these concessions and improve the cash flow,” he pointed out.