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Jun 28, 2012

Restructured for comfort, Hoteliers and GST

Tracy Panton

While cuts are anticipated in government expenditure, in the tourism industry the GST is expected to be introduced to replace the hotel tax. But stakeholders are not complaining. Since its introduction several years ago, hoteliers were exempted from charging GST on goods and services; instead, guests had to pay a nine percent hotel accommodation fee despite the services being considered a standard rated product.  Government is now proposing to include the hotel accommodations sector as part of the overall tax system.  According to the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Tourism, Tracy Panton, the introduction of GST will considerably reduce the inconveniences currently faced by hotel owners.


Tracy Panton, C.E.O., Ministry of Tourism

“The proposal is for the hotel accommodation tax as it now stands at nine percent to be repealed and that the hotel accommodations sector falls under the GST regime as a standard rated product.  Currently the hotel sector is exempt, and therefore they are unable to claim their inputs into delivering hotel accommodation services.  I think that the impacts will be positive.  I think that the strategy is certainly pro-investment, particularly for new properties or properties that are trying to improve their products.  It also, not only is it pro-investment but it also helps to support the efficiency and effectiveness of our national tax system and structure.  And so from that point of view I think it’s a very positive move by the government.  Clearly the concerns of our sector relates to the designated tourism marketing fund that is now being spearheaded by the B.T.B., as well as the other quality assurance nation planning initiatives, capacity building programs that are also part of the capacity building of our Belize Tourism Board.  We have gotten assurances from the Ministry of Finance that the funding for the B.T.B. will remain intact, that the government, whatever the formula is that the B.T.B. will have a designated fund for which to execute its operations.  And so with that assurance I think that this system can be good for tourism, it mitigates the cascading effect that some industry partners now complain about.”


Isani Cayetano

“In terms of presenting these proposed changes to the tax regime to stakeholders, what was their reception in terms of learning about these new proposals?”


Tracy Panton

“You know the issue of falling under the GST net, if you will, has been an issue that the industry has been lobbying for quite some time.  In fact, from when the GST was initiated several years ago the tourism sector wanted to fall under the GST net because of the ability to claim for your inputs.  So I don’t think that it is seen at all, at least that’s not the reaction I’ve received, as a negative idea but certainly the concern is to ensure that the functionality of the Belize Tourism Board that drives so much in terms of developing programs for the country can remain intact.”


Panton also says that a deadline for the implementation of the new tax regime has not been set.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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6 Responses for “Restructured for comfort, Hoteliers and GST”

  1. Tanya says:

    Smart idea for foreign investment in the tourism sector which at the moment is holding and have been holdiing our economy for quite a while in direct and indirect employment, taxes paid, foreign reserves etc… Also, it helps hoteliers maintainn competitive from our neighbors around is who also wants a piece of the cake. Finally we see some light and common sense polcies coming into effect for such an important industry and to attract more foreign investment.. Now all we need is a stop to offshore drilling.. Drill on land but not at sea..

  2. Eye in the Sky says:

    What a joke. From 9% to 12.5%.

    Tourism will drop if we impose GeStaPo to hotels.

    PLUS all the extra paperwork and dealing with the GST savages who think everyone want to tief the goverment of Belize.

    Say no to the G e S t a P o

  3. No Mucho Dinero says:

    That will be the resounding effect of this GST Tax on tourists and the hard working and underpaid hotel owners.
    I close my gift shop, restaurant, bar and tours and other business so I no longer have to deal with GST @$$h0les.
    Now they want to punish us with GST. NO MAN !!!!!!!!!!!!
    I goig to haul my @$$ to Chetumal and live great with the interest. Sick and tired of the jewel that no shine.
    >Eye in the Sky< you spelled it wrong it is G e S T a p o.
    Better enjoy Wallmart, Sams Club, Cinepolis Movies, Aurerra, the Mall, Liverpool, good streets, great restaurants and bars. THAT is a real jewel.

  4. Hotel Owner says:

    Yes, I too, will be selling and getting out of Belize.
    Not going to get my @ss hassled by the abusive and stupid G e S T a p o

    Work too hard, been robbed too many times, to put up with more $h!t.

  5. now i see says:

    @ Tania, you dont know $#!% of what you are talking about. Ask hotel owners, what they think?

  6. Steven says:

    Not worth the bother to invest here. We will close down and lay off everyone and move on to greener pastures. Being shaken down for bogus earnings and uncoperative, and unhelpful and rude GESTAPO not my idea of fun.


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