Hotel tax concessions must be made available to all hotels—great and small—on a fair and equal basis.
Anything less creates an un-level playing field, and gives rise to potentially massive legal and public relations problems for Antigua & Barbuda as a tourism destination.
Antigua & Barbuda’s economy depends on tourism. Tourism represents 60% of the country’s total GDP, 50% of employment opportunities, and is the primary source of investment, growth, and foreign exchange.
Therefore, it stands to reason that the Government of Antigua & Barbuda provides hotels (and many other businesses) with a variety of tax concessions and incentives.
Corporate tax concessions allow hoteliers to reinvest in their properties and thereby maintain the product quality that keeps Antigua & Barbuda competitive with other islands.
Import duty concessions on items of a capital nature, such as building supplies, furniture, fixtures, and equipment, facilitate the construction of new hotels and the renovation, refurbishment, and improvement of existing properties. This creates jobs, increases government revenue, and enhances the profile and desirability of Antigua & Barbuda as a top tourism destination.
On the other hand, certain concessions put the country and the vast majority of hoteliers at a significant disadvantage—especially when these concessions are not granted equally across the board.
The AHTA strongly believes that tourism is a partnership between hoteliers, the Government, and the people of Antigua & Barbuda.
While we support the granting of certain concessions and incentives, we also recognize that the country must generate revenue to operate properly and care for its people.
Fairness and equality—more than anything—are vital to the success of the tourism sector and the country.
Every hotelier in Antigua & Barbuda makes a difference. Every hotel creates jobs, generates government revenue, and adds to the country’s total accommodation inventory. Every hotelier makes a capital investment in the future of the country. Every hotel employee has a life to live and family members to care for; and none of this is possible if the country cannot provide basic services to its people.
As a matter of public policy, any concessions and incentives made available to one hotel should be made available to all.
If the playing field is not level, then certain hotels and businesses will always have a distinct advantage over the others. This discourages investment, tarnishes the country’s reputation, and ultimately results in the loss of jobs and revenue.
Fairness and equality, above all else, determine the success or failure of our tourism sector. Incentives and concessions must be made available and granted on a fair and equitable basis across the board.
Anything less tips the scales in favor of a select few, at the expense of everyone else.