The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association’s decision to allow an occupancy surcharge for hotel rooms could damage the island’s tourism industry, said the Federation of Tour Operators.


The association gave the go-ahead on Monday for hotels on the Caribbean island to add up to $10 per day following rising energy prices. The rate can be introduced from tomorrow, the official start of the Jamaica winter season.


Operators would have to paythe extra cost on existing bookings because it is against package regulations to pass the cost on to customers.


Federation of Tour Operators director general Andy Cooper said: “We are concerned about the impact of such a charge. No one is rushing to implement it yet, but we believe it should not be introduced at all. It is wrong to add a charge that is unpredicted and unprepared for.”


The FTO has contacted the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, the Jamaican High Commission and the Jamaican government to voice its concerns.


An ABTA spokesmansaid: “ABTA recommends operators contact their Jamaican suppliers directly to address the situation and remind them of existing contractual obligations.”


Several hotels have confirmed they will not be introducing the surcharge, including Sandals, Half Moon, Island Post and Couples Resorts.


Couples Resorts managing director Tom McNamara said: “We believe it is unfair to burden our clients and operators with this charge and have chosen to absorb the cost instead.”


Sandals Resorts chairman Gordon Stewart added: “Now is not the time to enact this new policy.”