There is concern that some small businesses could be forced to shut down when the Tourism Development (Amendment) Bill, 2014 is passed, extending a sweep of concessions to local hoteliers.
Although saying that he supported the bill, Independent Senator Tony Marshall said a number of small business operators, mainly those in the seafood industry, were concerned that hoteliers could stop using their services when they are allowed to import some items duty-free.
He was speaking during the Senate debate on the bill this afternoon.
“Has any thought been given to the fact that there are certain small businesses that are likely to succumb to the ramification of this legislation and go out of business?” Marshall questioned.
He said a number of small businesses could become uncompetitive if they were “not permitted to have the same benefits as the hotels”.
“People have spoken to me. They are very worried about what is gong to happen to them. They see themselves being forced out of business.”
He also pointed to other areas he said needed to be addressed within the new bill, including the expansion of renewable energy within the tourism industry.
Marshall also raised concern that most of the development of tourism plants was taking place along the coast line.
He said he hoped efforts were being made in the new tourism master plan to alter that.