BLP dismisses tourism plan


Empty repetition!
That was how Opposition member Kerrie Symmonds described Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy’s ten-point plan to boost the tourism industry.
Symmonds, the Shadow Minister for International Business and Commerce and Trade was swift in his response to Sealy’s press conference this evening.
Speaking to the media at the Opposition’s office immediately after Sealy’s press conference, Sealy said the Barbados Labour Party was disappointed in what the Minister had to say.
“We expected a more meaningful and policy oriented intervention,” he said.
In terms of the $10 million dollar window for the retrofitting of air conditioning and lighting in the hospitality sector, Symmonds said the money was way too small to have an impact.
“The biggest difficulty there is that you are talking about over 85 hotels and you are therefore going to have approximately $120 000 for each, so there is really not a lot of money that you are talking about – nothing significant.
“Beyond that, the question is whether or not the hotels can satisfy the NIS?that there will be a commercial rate of return on that investment. In a real sense it is very similar to what they did with the TIRF ( Tourism Industry Relief Fund) which had too small a fund of $20 million dollars but ended up attracting $80 million dollars in claims. And in terms of the land tax rebate, Symmonds also dismissed that saying easing the burden of land taxes had been “on the cards for a long time.”
He also threw out the five per cent rebate on electricity and water pointing out that there has to be a legal framework within which this can happen.
Full reports in tomorrow’s WEEKEND NATION


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