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Call to level tourism field

marciadottin, [email protected]

Call to level tourism field

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ONE OF THE ways to start growth in the economy is by granting concessions to other hotels beside Sandals, says president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados, David Simpson.
Stating that Government’s fiscal policy was aimed at maintaining foreign reserves but did not include a growth strategy, Simpson said if Barbadians wanted to continue enjoying free health care and education, economic growth was essential since such “free” services had a cost.
The 39-year-old accountant and entrepreneur was addressing Thursday night’s People’s Assembly hosted by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party at St Christopher Primary School.
Noting that tourism was the main sector that could lead such growth, Simpson said it was necessary to make the sector more competitive and allow its players to operate on a level playing field.
“If tourism is to be our No. 1 foreign exchange earner, why can’t similar concessions be provided to all of our local hoteliers?” he asked.
“There should be no separation between the property here, the property on the right and the one in the centre,” Simpson said.
“If we are to compete with the emerging tourism destinations in the world . . . such as Dubai and Hawaii, which are easier to reach by plane from the source markets and where the cost of running properties are much cheaper than here, what our tourism sector really needs [is] the waiver of significant duties and taxes for the sector that is to earn you what you need to fuel your growth, to cover your imports, to cover any debt that you are required to become involved in to facilitate national development,” he said.
Stressing that concessions were critical in an industry as important as tourism, he pointed to the costs of building maintaining and renewing a hotel property, which was necessary if tourists were to be attracted.
He said the point must be reached in Barbados where concessions did not depend upon a Government minister but were incorporated into the relevant legislation.
Simpson said the role of any government was to create an infrastructure, framework and environment in which businesses could thrive, employ people and invest.
He called on Government to be innovative in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors by using the large tracts of Barbados Investment and Development Corporation’s real estate and create a central space where all the players in similar sectors would be able to produce at the level to make Barbados competitive in the international market. (RJ)