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Cruise Industry Head Tax Could Harm Caribbean Tourism Warns Expert

by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

23 September 2003


A proposed US$20 head tax on the Caribbean cruise line industry could be very detrimental to the region's tourism trade warned President of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association Michelle Paige last week.

"Taxation is a disincentive to travel. Taxation is never the way to go, especially in this economic climate," Paige told the Caribbean Media Corporation in an interview on September 16 adding that the new fee would compare very unfavourably to Mexico's $3 head tax.

According to the Antigua Sun, the head tax is part of a proposal put forward by CARICOM ministers to finance a development fund, though it appears that the measure does not have the unanimous backing of all regional governments.

"Prime Minister Douglas of St. Kitts, has indicated that he is not in favour of the proposed tax, Minister Bush from the Cayman Islands, Commissioner Highlander of St. Maarten, and other numerous destinations have indicated that they are not in favour of the tax," Paige claimed in the CMC report.

According to Paige, the proposals at present have only reached the dicussion phase, and nothing concrete seems to been agreed, though she added that whilst individual nations are free to impose a head tax, a uniform regional tax would in fact be illegal.

TAGS: Curaçao

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