I completely agree with Bart Snelders disappointment expressed in the BES Reporter article shared Sunday. The entry tax is going to have a negative impact on Bonaire tourism. How is it that the cruise ships don’t pay more until 2023? Most resorts and rental homes are booked far in advance too, springing this on everyone with 3-months notice is very inconsiderate.
What happens to non-resident Bonaire home and business owners now? I’m not a resident, but I own a home and a car and a vacation rental business on Bonaire and go back and forth 8-10 times a year from the US – do I pay to enter once a year like my STINAPA pass, or do I get charged $75 every visit? We already pay the government over $10,000 a year in taxes and fees.
What about my siblings, nieces, nephews, and my children and their friends? Do they have to pay for their entry too each and every visit to our home here? Will non-paying visiting guests in my home be subject to a tourist tax? As it is, every visitor who stays with me at my expense spends $45 for a STINAPA pass if they dive. I think it is unfair to ask a guest to pay $75 to be my guest in my home.
My rental business has been paying the $5.45 per adult guest per night since we started renting out our house on VRBO. We include the first two guests in the base rent and try and collect the difference from the paying visitors – we pay it whether we collect it or not. Has any consideration been made for owners like me with businesses and CRIB numbers?
We do not pay the tourist tax when we use our own house for personal use or for our friends or family who stay with us. We do not get the resident discount on the property taxes and we received no help or relief while our house was unrented during the lockdowns. We still paid the pool people, the gardeners, caretaker, AC contractor, electrician, painter, maintenance contractor, and cleaning people even when there were no renters. We refunded every guest 100% who cancelled because of covid because we hoped they would come back to Bonaire later.
The $75 per rental guest per visit is doable – assuming they won’t be paying the $5.45 per night for their accommodations – guests who stay longer benefit, but most Americans come for just a week so they will pay more then the Dutch who usually come for 2-3 weeks. With prices going up, most property owners will not reduce the rent, they will just raise rents a little less.
I have been a Bonaire supporter and visitor since my first visit in 1987 when I stayed at Carib Inn. We came back and stayed at other resorts, including Buddy Dive, Captain Don’s and Plaza. In 2016 I bought a house on the water in Belnem. We spent a lot of our own money renovating it, carried it and all the local Bonaire service companies to care for it while it was unrented during Covid from April 2020 until the fall of 2021. We are in the process of buying a 2nd home here now – maybe we shouldn’t do it? This new tax is unprecedented and poses a lot of concerns for visitors like me who are investors here too, not simply tourists. I’d love to read more discussion about this in BES Reporter.
Kasteel Bonaire BV