D’Aguilar: No concerns VAT will make tourism uncompetitive
According to Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar, there are no concerns that The Bahamas will become uncompetitive as a tourist destination, despite the recent 4.5 percent increase in value-added tax (VAT), because the jurisdiction is viewed as expensive. He added that this country in terms of taxes is comparatively lower than many other popular tourist destinations.
D’Aguilar explained that while the tax has increased, certain decreases in import duties and some concessions could allow for resorts and restaurants to even out their pricing.
He added that people are willing to pay even higher taxes than The Bahamas’ 12 percent in cities like New York and countries in Europe.
“Most countries in Europe have VAT in excess of 20 percent,” he said.
“You can’t just say everything is going up. In comparison to other jurisdictions we are well within the norm.”
In response to the VAT hike, news website orlandoweekly.com published an article on Monday with the headline, “The Bahamas just got a whole lot more expensive thanks to dramatic increases in taxes and fees”.
“In 2015, when The Bahamas switched from a sales tax to a value-added tax, it was celebrated as a win for tourists, who saw a 2.5 percent decrease in taxes,” the article states.
“The former 10 percent hotel tax was lowered to the nationwide 7.5 percent VAT, but now, amid increased borrowing, the Caribbean nation has increased the VAT to a whopping 12 percent.
“The goal for the 4.5 percent increase in the VAT is to help offset cost overruns in the government, which took out $2 billion in new loans in the past year.”
According to D’Aguilar, there is no need for public relations regarding the tax increases and how they will affect the tourism sector, despite articles like the one in orlandoweekly.com.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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