Wed | Sep 2, 2015

VOX POP

Published:Monday | May 28, 2012
Ian Kerr
Josef Forstmayr
Barbara Walker
Jason Henzell
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What is your reaction to the tax measures that have been announced for the tourism sector?

Jason Henzell, owner, Jake's Treasure Beach

Everybody knew that this Budget was going to be a tough one. As a small hotel owner and operator, I feel the US$2 per room per night is fair and equitable. There are many small properties that don't have the funding to invest to make them a resort cottage. This is a great opportunity to start a vibrant bed and breakfast programme where the smaller players in the industry can contribute taxes and receive marketing in return.

Barbara Walker, owner, Mockingbird Hill, Port Antonio

The tax increase will price us out of the market. Many small operators will close, increasing unemployment. With a 15 to 20 per cent occupancy at the moment, how can we afford a 6.5 per cent increase on electricity. We have to absorb the room tax as we cannot raise rates.

Ian Kerr, managing director, Sunset Beach Resorts

I really don't know how we will survive this one. It has been challenging over the last three years. I have spoken with a number of tour operators overseas and they say they won't be able to absorb the additional cost. They have also pointed out that other destinations are far more competitive.

Josef Forstmayr, managing director, Round Hill Hotel and Villas

After doubling the Tourism Enhancement Fund fee last year, it is now time to fleece our visitors again.

First, we add the GCT and then another room tax for each night. I can already see the international headlines: 'Jamaica, BIG problem!'

All of this would be bearable was it not for the self-congratulatory attitude of my fellow Jamaican entrepreneurs who are not part of the direct tourism family.