KRALENDIJK – Bonaire wants to introduce a tourist tax of 50 dollars per person, at least for tourists who do not arrive from one of the other islands of the former Netherlands Antilles.
Some explanation about the new tax was provided during a press conference on Monday afternoon. Besides the Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB), tourism deputy Hennyson Thielman, Chief Operating Officer at Bonaire International Airport (BIA), the harbormaster and Bonaire Hotel & Tourism Association (Bonhata) also gave a presentation.
Once per year
The idea behind the tax is that it is levied once a year per tourist. It will be possible to pay online, after which the tourist will be able to travel to the island several times with a special barcode, without having to pay again. The new system doesn’t mean a heavier tax burden than before. With the introduction of the new tax, the Room Tax and the Car Rental tax, among other things, will be abolished.
“The main aim is to have more people contribute to total tourism revenues”, says TCB Director Miles Mercera. Currently, an increasing number of people are staying in apartments which are often not officially registered, so that no room tax is levied.
There will be a special rate for residents of the ABC islands and for residents of Sint-Maarten, Sint-Eustatius and Saba. They will only pay 10 dollars instead of 50. In addition – it is expected – there will also be a special rate for children under 12 years.
Introduction of the new tax will still have to be approved by the Island Council. A new and more fairly distributed scheme has been studied for some years. The new tax is expected to come into effect on January 1, 2022.
A higher tax for cruise tourists is also being worked on. It is expected to come into effect in September 2022.
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