A new Barbados hotel room tax that will see families forced to pay up to £180 in bed taxes for a typical stay has been slammed as an “outrage” and “unhelpful”.
Operators, agents and hoteliers were given just over a week’s notice by the island’s government before the levy comes into force on Sunday.
The levy on accommodation, collected in resort, will cost between US$2.50 (£1.90) and $10 (£7.55) per room per night until VAT doubles to 15% in 2020.
The new tax equates to $240 (£181) for a family staying 12 nights – a typical length of stay for Britons – in two interconnecting rooms in a luxury hotel.
In addition, an ‘airline travel and tourism development fee’ of $70 dollars (£53) will be charged from October 1 when clients fly back to the UK, and a 2.5% levy will be charged on ‘direct tourism services’, such as car hire. The measures are part of an austerity budget by new prime minister Mia Mottley.
Designer Travel managing director Amanda Matthews said: “It’s an outrage. I could understand it if it was on new bookings but we have clients who booked a year ago. We now have to tell them there is a tax. They are not happy.”
She believes off-peak sales could be hit. “This is already a premium‑priced island and this will make it so expensive,” she said.
The Destination Lounge director Jake Goodenough said: “This tax is substantial. If there is an equivalent resort [on another island] at a comparable price, clients will go there instead.”
Caribtours managing director Paul Cleary said: “This is not news we like to receive at short notice.
“It is unhelpful it is being introduced immediately.”
Sandals is to absorb the levy at its Sandals Royal Barbados and Sandals Barbados properties.
Last year, Barbados attracted 187,000 Britons, or 16.5% of all UK visitors to the Caribbean – the equal-largest share with Jamaica.
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