The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) firmly rejects Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo’s claim that it is "absolute nonsense" to suggest governments were taxing hotels out of existence.
Jagdeo made those remarks at a press conference at the CARICOM summit held recently in St. Kitts. The members of CHTA are most disappointed by the Guyana President's unfortunate remarks related to the already tax-riddled industry, according to Josef Forstmayr, president of CHTA.
"With all due respect, the CHTA is of the view that President Jagdeo speaks from a misinformed position on taxation in the various islands throughout the region and with little or no knowledge of the tourism industry and the contribution it makes to Caribbean economies," Forstmayr said.
It is exactly this reason why the CHTA delegation requested a place on this and any future CARICOM summit agenda. "It is quite obvious that our political leaders have a narrow and limited perspective on the far-reaching positive effects of tourism on our Caribbean economies," he added.
According to CHTA, it is a well-known fact that the entire supply chain of the hotel industry bears too much of an increasing tax burden; workers are taxed, supplies are taxed, utilities are taxed and guests of hotels are taxed in several ways including at the hotel, on the airline and at the airport sometimes with both arrival and departure taxes.
"CHTA would like to extend an open invitation to President Jagdeo," Forstmayr said, "and anyone else misinformed, to a discussion forum on tourism to explore the overwhelming, sometimes immeasurable but undeniable impact that tourism has on our Caribbean economies."