Hotel concessions to be extended to other tourism businesses

A sex therapy clinic is to open its doors in Barbados and that operation, along with the fertility clinic and other medical tourism businesses, will get the same concessions as hotels.

Doctors will also be among those benefiting from the duty waivers on inputs, under the Tourism Development Act.

Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport Irene Sandiford-Garner made the disclosure as she told the Senate that beneficiaries of the concessions under the Tourism Development (Amendment) Bill 2014 would extend beyond hotel plants.

Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner
Irene Sandiford-Garner

“I wish to share that persons who would wish to invest in medical tourism will be able to benefit from these concessions as well. It applies to doctors specializing in gynecology and obstetrics, and the [Barbados] Fertility Clinic will also be able to benefit from this initiative,” she said as she introduced the Bill which was passed in the House of Assembly last week.

“I also know that the door is now wide open for investment in hostel care and convalescent care. I am aware of a group of locals – two are trained in the medical field – who are opening a sex therapy clinic for local persons and expatriates. They are making it a tourism initiative.”

Sandiford-Garner said Barbados was the perfect place for such a facility to thrive.

“We have the ideal environment for such clinics . . . We have the climate, we have the qualified workforce and the amenities,” the Government Senator said.

Sandiford-Garner said the site of the sex therapy clinic was currently being developed and the principals were acquiring the necessary equipment.

Although not identifying the exact location, she made a point of saying that it was not a beachfront property.

“It would be located in a naturally beautiful area in the interior of Barbados, an environment ideally suited for this remedial assistance,” she said.

Sandiford-Garner did not give any indication as to when the clinic would open its doors.

She told the Upper House that the operators would be applying for concessions under the Act.

Pointing out that the duty waivers and other breaks available under the amended legislation would cost taxpayers approximately $20 million, the Senator said beneficiaries must make the concessions count.

“That $20 million is really the sacrifice that Barbadian taxpayers are being asked to make for the industry. I believe that to whom much is given, much is expected,” she said.

“I understand that the private sector has promised a minimum of three per cent growth in arrivals over the next five years. The concessions will have a tremendous impact on the industry and we have taken the private sector at its word.” She maintained, during her presentation, that Barbados had the widest market in investment funding for tourism ventures.

Sandiford-Garner identified the Enterprise Growth Fund, the Small Hotel Investment Fund, the Tourism Loan Fund and the Central Bank of Barbados’ tourism loan guarantee among the opportunities available to the sector. 

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