A local organization which promotes entrepreneurship through engagement with global online marketplaces such as Airbnb, is backing Government’s plans to tax the sector.
Barbados Entrepreneurship and Tourism Association (BETA) said it had no problem with the ten per cent tax on the homestay accommodation sector announced yesterday by Prime Minister Mia Mottley as part of a $1.2 billion austerity package to pull the economy back from the brink.
BETA President Neeraj Vensimal today said his association was willing to play its part in the country’s economic recovery.
“We understand that we all have to share the burden at this point in time,” Vensimal said in a press release, adding that capitalizing on sharing economy technology was an effective method for Government to raise revenue.
“Technology has been defined as simply doing more with less. So what better way to come out of a downturn than to utilize sharing economy technology which allows individuals to do more with less by easily tapping into a built-in market of more than 150 million travellers?
“We believe Airbnb can play a large role in helping Barbados leapfrog out of its downturn, allowing ordinary Barbadians to earn additional income, not only sharing their homes but hosting ‘experiences’ which in turn allow visitors to be more integrated into our local culture,” he added.
BETA states on its website that its initial focus is to have Barbados “be the first island to launch Airbnb ‘Trips’ – cultural experiences and immersions created by ordinary Barbadians”.
Meantime, a former Airbnb host, who requested anonymity, told Barbados TODAY she did not expect the industry to be significantly impacted by the newly introduced levy.
“I can’t see the industry being affected. Anyone that is willing to spend $20 is going to pay $22. Ten per cent is minor,” the former host pointed out.
“If they want to come to Barbados they are still going to come [and] $2, $5, $10, the tax is not going to shake ground,” she added.
However, the former Airbnb host had questions about collection of the tax by the Barbados Revenue Authority, but said if it were done via the Airbnb transactions, persons would have no difficulty with the changes.