The government of St Lucia has unveiled plans to will be introduce a tourist accommodation fee to be used for destination marketing and development.
All accommodation providers on the island will be required to collect the charge from guests from April 1st.
For a nightly rate of below US$120, the fee will be US$3, rising to US$6 above this level.
The fees will be paid by the stayover visitor and collected by accommodation providers who will remit the fees collected to Government via the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority.
Guests at accommodation services sourced through sharing platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO will be subject to an accommodation fee of seven per cent on the full cost of stay.
The tourist accommodation fee will be used to finance the destination marketing activities undertaken by the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority as it promotes Saint Lucia’s tourism product worldwide and particularly in key markets within the US, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and Europe.
The fee will also be used to support village tourism development, and destination management and development of the local product in Saint Lucia.
The intention is to strengthen the SLTA’s ability to increase its marketing of the destination and to support tourism development in Saint Lucia with the collection of a fee that correlates to visitor arrivals.
Saint Lucia attracts up to 350,000 stay-over visitors to its shores every year.
SLTA has set a target of 541,000 stay-over visitors by 2022 and has an annual budget for marketing and promotion of approximately $35 million.
Tourism minister Dominic Fedee said destination marketing benefits all players in the industry – accommodation providers, airlines, tour operators, travel agents, ground handlers, sites and attractions.
He further commented: “It’s always a challenge for small countries to allocate much needed resources towards tourism marketing.
“The accommodation fee allows tourism to pay for itself, as the tax will be levied to tourist to the island.
“It frees up much needed funds for healthcare, education and national security.”