Published on : Saturday, November 21, 2020
The government of Saint Lucia recently passed plans for a new tourism levy following two years of consultation and development. The levy will be introduced from December 1 and is designed to allow the island to increase its marketing budget and support tourism development. Guests staying at registered accommodation service providers will be required to pay a nightly levy from here on.
In the two-tier system, guests will be charged US$3 or US$6 per person per night, depending on a room rate below or above US$120. Guests who are 12 to 17 years at the end of their stay will pay half, while the fee will not apply to children under 12 years. Registered accommodation service providers are required to apply and collect the levy and remit to the administering authority.
In addition, Value Added Tax (VAT) will be reduced from ten to seven per cent for tourism accommodation service providers, effective next month. The news comes as the phased re-opening of the island continues, with the certification of 30 villas and the launch of a dine-around programme for visitors. The further easing of certain restrictions has added more ways to enjoy the island holiday during peak winter sun season.
Visitors are already allowed to stay in up to two COVID-certified properties as well as take part in a broad range of experiences including diving, sailing and hiking up the iconic Gros Piton Mountain. The destination had safely welcomed more than 17,000 visitors since reopening July 9, up until the end of October. The newly re-opened villas will offer a private accommodation alternative to hotels and include a range of options for families to larger groups.
At the moment, there are also eight restaurants now approved to host visitors including the award-winning Orlando’s in Soufriere founded by British Caribbean chef, Orlando Satchel. Each restaurant has a dedicated time and day when it can open to holidaymakers. Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee, said that the aim of the levy is to ensure that the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) is self-sustainable. He mentioned that the former budget allocation of approximately EC$35 million can now be directed to other demanding areas within key sectors of education, national security, and health care.