Conflicting views on Barbados’ tourism concessions
CASTRIES – Saint Lucia’s Director of Tourism Louis Lewis has suggested that major tourism incentives announced by Barbados may not be sustainable.
“I dare venture to say that I am not too sure that is a very sustainable concession,” Lewis said of the announcement by Barbados that it would offer a menu of concessions to Sandals Resorts, allowing for tax relief of up to forty years on tourism inputs including food and beverage imports.
Other hotels in Barbados are also in line for similar benefits.
“It begs the question of where else does the government attract revenue,” the Saint Lucia Director of Tourism said.
According to Lewis there were two sides to the issue, one of them being the reduction of the operating costs of the hotel owners.
“But there’s the other side when the government puts in a disproportionate amount of resources to ensure that there is an enabling environment,” he disclosed.
Lewis said: “When you give away all those incentives the question remains – how do you repair roads, take care of infrastructure and support the education system that develops workers for that same industry that has been incentivised?”
Former Saint Lucia Tourism Minister and current leader of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) Allen Chastanet had in an earlier interview with the Times praised the new Barbados tourism incentive programme.
Chastanet, who is also a former Director of Tourism here, felt that because of what Barbados was doing, Saint Lucia was “late in the game” and would have to catch up. (St Lucia Times)