JIS News

Contract carriage operators within the tourism sector can now benefit from a $50 million loan facility to assist with the purchasing of new vehicles.
Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, making the announcement at a recent press briefing at the Ministry’s New Kingston office, informed that $1 million will be made available to each operator at an interest rate of three per cent, over a five year period.
The loan facility has been made available by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). Beneficiaries must be contract carriage operators, who are members of an association. They are required to be licensed by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), tax compliant, and the vehicles purchased must be no more than three years old.
“This is a very important addition to the stimulus package for the ground transportation crew, who have been complaining that they have difficulties in replacing old and expired units,” the Tourism Minister pointed out, adding that the loan facility will work well in easing the burden the operators face “during this challenging period”.
He noted that the ground transport providers are key partners in the tourism industry.
Additionally, the TEF has provided a special assistance package of $150 million to small properties in the tourism sector.
Under the initiative, a maximum of $3 million will be allocated to each small property, in the first instance, and is repayable over a 60-month period at an interest of three per cent per annum.
Minister Bartlett pointed out that a special allowance under this facility is that the property owners can use up to one third of the loan available for paying off tax arrears in order to become tax compliant.
The primary purpose of the assistance package is to facilitate product enhancement, upgrading, marketing, operational and administrative improvement of small entities.
The Minister said that through the TEF loan facility, the sector has already lent some $57 million to 24 entities.

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