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Sealy welcomes new yachting fee

Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy is anticipating new economic opportunities and a number of jobs from Government’s decision to make owners of yachts pay a flat annual fee for docking in Barbados.

In his presentation of the 2016 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals last week, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler announced that over the years the imposition of a duty on visiting yachts had simply not worked since many yacht owners would visit the island and then leave before the allowable six-month period was up.

As such, Sinckler said the duty requirement would be removed for yachts staying in the island longer than six months and would be replaced by an annual fee of $2,000 per boat.

Sealy told Barbados TODAY he welcomed the move because his ministry and industry players had been encouraging a move away from the “complicated system”, which required the boats to remain in the island more than six months.

“I think that it is a sensible way to go because at tourism we have been encouraging for some time the potential that yachts have. There are some Caribbean countries that rely almost entirely for their tourism industry on what come onboard yachts, and for too long we really haven’t been taking advantage of this,” the minister said.

Sealy contended that Barbados was regarded as a high-quality destination and it was unfortunate that the island did not attract more yachts.

“So the decision to go into that direction, I describe it as an entirely new access, a new frontier for our tourism and it’s one that should be embraced. There will be economic opportunities and there will be jobs that come along with it. At this stage it is early to say where we are going but whatever we get from it is new business, is incremental business and is not replacing existing business. So that in itself gives us an opportunity to grow. Tourism grows then the economy grows and everyone benefits,” he maintained.

Sealy said despite its geographical position, Barbados had been on the “fringe” of the yachting sector for much too long. However he said the country was ready to be welcomed into the yachting world.   

“Our geography works very much to our advantage. We are the first landfall over the Atlantic, being the most easterly Caribbean country. It is something that historically has worked for us and it is about time that we now benefit from that as well with a modern yachting industry, and that is the direction we are going in,” he said.

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