Published on : Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Stayover visitors to Saint Lucia will be required to pay between US$3 ($4.40) and US$6 ($8.70) per night at accommodation with regard to the new levy, while guests at Airbnbs will be required to pay seven per cent on the full cost of their stay.
This is due to the country’s government plans about financing destination marketing by its tourism authority for promoting Saint Lucia’s tourism product worldwide. Particular efforts will be given to five key markets: the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, and Europe.
The SLTA’s annual budget for marketing and promotion is approximately EC$35 million ($18.8 million).
“It’s always a challenge for small countries to allocate much-needed resources towards tourism marketing,” said Saint Lucia’s tourism minister, Dominic Fedee.
He added, “The accommodation fee allows tourism to pay for itself, as the tax will be levied to tourists to the island. It frees up much-needed funds for healthcare, education and national security.”
The Saint Lucia Tourist Authority (SLTA) said that the introduction of the levy will come after government and stakeholder consultation, and the amount collected is associated with visitor arrivals to the island.
Famous for its volcanic beaches and reefs, Saint Lucia attracts up to 350,000 stay-over visitors every year. The island enjoys a tropical climate, covering a land area of 617 square kilometers, with an estimated population of around 182,000 people.
By 2022, the island has set a target of 541,000 stay-over visitors. It has a goal of increasing airlift seat capacity and load factor on all flights into Saint Lucia to 85 per cent.
Accommodation providers on the island, including hotels, guest houses, villas, and apartments will collect the amounts from guests, remitted to the government through its tourism authority.
The levy will also be used for supporting village tourism development, and destination management and development of Saint Lucia’s local product. The new tourist fee will be among the lowest in the world.