Plans Advanced to Introduce Tourism Enhancement Fee


Legislation is well advanced to establish the legal framework for the charging and use of the tourism enhancement fee and the establishment of an interim advisory committee, which will ultimately become a Board of Directors for the Tourism Enhancement Fund, which will manage the implementation of the Tourism Master Plan.
Minister of Industry and Tourism, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba divulged this on Wednesday (April 21) during her budget presentation in the House of Representatives.
She said even as the legislative process for implementing the Plan was in motion, steps were far advanced in preparing the Ministry’s agencies by putting the appropriate structures, programmes and personnel in place to work with stakeholders to successfully take the industry to a “qualitatively new level of performance”. To this end, the restructuring of the Jamaica Tourist Board is almost complete.
A road map for the implementation of the Master Plan was presented to the joint Cabinet Development Council retreat in September 2003, where recommendations were supported to put the necessary systems in place to implement the Plan whose key objectives are: growth based on a sustainable market position; enhancement of the visitor experience; community based development; the building of an inclusive industry and environmental sustainability.
This ‘road map’ Mrs. Assamba said included a list of capital projects and estimated costs, an implementation strategy as well as a mechanism for raising the necessary funds for implementation of the government led projects. The intention is to charge a fee to incoming visitors to raise funds, which will be placed in a dedicated fund to be used solely for the tourism development.
“The Tourism Development Company (TPDCo) is positioning itself to play a critical role in the implementation of the Tourism Master Plan. The agency is aggressively facilitating the diversification and improvement of the tourism product while enhancing visitor experience,” she stated.
With environmental programmes such as the South Coast Sustainable Development Programme, Blue Flag and the Environmental Audits for Sustainable Tourism well underway, Mrs. Assamba pointed out, the Master Plan was not on hold while legislation to implement the more ambitious projects were being awaited, instead, “we are forging ahead and making significant progress”.

JIS Social