The Minister of Industry and Tourism, Hon Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, has announced that the Jamaican government will begin enforcing a Tourism Enhancement Fee on May 1, 2005. The US$10 visitation fee will apply to tourists visiting the island of Jamaica, paid directly to the government in an effort to raise funds to maintain Jamaica’s tourist product and provide capital for tourism enhancement projects.Ê The influx of capital should prove to be a strong supply of capital for the tourism sector, considering a 4.5 percent increase in tourism traffic for the first two months of 2005 versus 2004, according to the latest update from the Marketing Department at the Jamaica Tourist Board.
The decision came on the heels of the announcement of a special task force comprising tourism industry partners assigned to develop a “Tourism Master Plan” designed to promote and boost tourism to the island of Jamaica. Taking into consideration the facets of the plan, the tax will help to fund the 2005-2006 estimates of expenditure by the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament.
A US$10 fee will be collected from airline passengers versus a US$2 fee that will be collected from cruise ship travelers. Though concerns were voiced about the burden this new tax may pose on the island’s tourism partners, Minister Assamba calmed fears by saying,
“I am not taxing the hoteliers, attraction owners or the Jamaican people. The revenue collected from our visitors will be used to contribute to the enhancement and the sustainability of our tourism product.”