Jamaica’s opposition lobbies for tiered tax system in tourism sector

Opposition spokesperson on tourism, Janice Allen, is suggesting that the government implement a tiered taxation system for businesses in the tourism sector.

Speaking during a sitting of the senate on Friday (June 25) Allen said a tiered approach to taxation would create a more equitable system.

“While I agree that every player is to contribute revenue to the government’s coffers a fair approach would be to apply a progressive or marginal tax system that adjusts taxation rates progressively by income, with a commensurate approach to grants and incentives,” said Allen

“Put simply, a more careful review of the ecosystem is required to ensure that the small players survive and grow,”added Allen.

Allen explained that while the larger, all-inclusive model of accommodation is in higher demand in the Caribbean region, she said it was the smaller, community-style products that really helped foreign exchanged earned to trickle through the economy.

According to Allen, given the benefits of both models, it was incumbent on the government to ensure the survival of the two products.

“It is well known that Jamaica has a long history of success in various segments of the tourism industry. We are pioneers in the boutique business and the same is true for the all inclusive product. But both must succeed if we are to experience sustainable growth in the industry. In recent years, emphasis has been on large developments and one could argue that this is due to the demands of the market,” said Allen.

“However we are at a time when diversity matters and there are still  those who demand, as you’ve just said, senator Wehby, the small boutique offering but the playing field must be levelled and there must be fairness in the supporting  legislation taxation policies  to ensure the survival of both, “ she added

Allen argued that a lower taxation rate would not only ensure the viability of smaller players but could potentially expand the pool of product offerings.