Tourism industry officials are frustrated that there has been very little movement in relation to the facilitation of some items under the Tourism Development Act (TDA).
Presenting his report today at the annual general meeting of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Chairman Stephen Austin said he was tired highlighting the issues.
Of concern to members is the slow pace of clearance for items, and the cumbersome way in which the TDA is administered.
Austin said there are several impediments when hoteliers import items under the TDA.
“These impediments are very frustrating and can be costly due to the amount of human resources dedicated to having these items cleared,” he said.
“Tourism is a major economic driver in the Barbadian economy and the concessions granted are meant to encourage and assist the sector in renewing its product and remaining competitive.”
Austin said the BHTA recently met with Government officials to discuss the challenges and outlined a proposed solution to improve the speed and access of the duty-free concessions under the TDA.
Those recommendations include: making the application process easier for registrants with clearer guidelines and creating an exemption list that outlines all the items.
“The proposed new system will allow for easy clearing of all items once the establishment has met the registration criteria,” said Austin.
“Customs can then establish the parameters that would enable their audit team to ensure that all imported items are used for the purpose and for the property that they were intended for and to alleviate any delays in the clearing of goods.”
Austin said it was also time that the same concessions be offered to restaurants in the BHTA membership who qualify.
Get more stories from the BHTA’s Annual General Meeting in Wednesday’s E-paper.