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.

2 Responses to Sealy welcomes new yachting fee

  1. Evan Gatehouse August 25, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    This seems like an excellent way to ensure no yachts visit Barbados. Most cruising sailors are not rich and live off savings or a pension. No other country in the world has such a high fee. Would you visit a country that charged you $2000 to visit?

    Trinidad charges $50TT/month anchorage fee and that it all. Hundreds of yachts visit Trinidad for repairs and to avoid hurricanes and spend $$ every year.

    Cruisers are mobile – they don’t have to visit your country. But when they do they stay longer than typical tourists, buy from all parts of the local economy, and are generally desirable tourists.

    What a foolish idea.

  2. Michael August 26, 2016 at 6:04 am

    Okay, so now we absolutely skip Barbados. The money we’d have probably spent on provisions, clothes and just regular tourism items is gone now if I have to hand over 2k to the government just for parking. I wonder how this helps the general population on that Island? Do you have enough yachts visit that will make this venture worthwhile? This boat owner says that’s $2k less in spending than they’d have gotten if we were just permitted to dock, anchor or moor and purchase items from an economy that can benefit from the visiting boats.


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