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St Lucia adds ‘tourism fee’

Regional 10 Jan, 2020 Follow News

St Lucia adds ‘tourism fee’

St Lucia plans to introduce a "tourist accommodation fee" on hotels, guesthouses, villas, apartments and Airbnb stays to fund destination marketing and development.

From April 1 visitors will be charged a nightly rate of US$3 on accommodation costing up to $120 a night, and $6 on accommodation priced beyond $120.

Accommodation sourced through sharing platforms such as Airbnb or VRBO will be subject to a 7 percent tourist accommodation fee on the full cost of the stay.

Funds accrued via the charges will be used to finance destination marketing activities by the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority in key markets, including the UK and Europe.

"The business of promoting a tourism destination is becoming increasingly challenging and highly competitive as countries worldwide try to capture a greater share of the growing tourist market," said an SLTA spokesman.

"Given this, it is now common practice for countries to finance marketing of their tourism product through an accommodation fee or levy paid for by stay-over visitors."

Its budget currently stands at US$35 million a year, which the SLTA says is modest in comparison to more established destinations with greater resources, which include other Caribbean nations. St Lucia’s proposed fee structure is like the Maldives.

The cash will also be used to support village tourism and local product development, and for other destination management purposes.

St Lucia currently attracts around 350,000 stay-over visitors annually and is targeting 541,000 by 2022. The SLTA also wants to increase airlift to the island.

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