Saint Lucia introduces a tourist accommodation fee
Following consultations with stakeholders in the industry, the Government will be introducing a tourist accommodation fee to be used for destination marketing and development. As of April 1, 2020, stayover visitors to Saint Lucia will be required to pay an accommodation fee on their nightly stay on the island. All accommodation providers on the island (hotels, guest houses, villas, apartments, etc.) will be required to collect from their stay over guests $3.00 and $6.00 respectively on a nightly rate below or above $120. The fees will be paid by the stayover visitor and collected by accommodation providers who will remit the fees collected to Government via the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority. Guests at accommodation services sourced through sharing platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO will be subject to an accommodation fee of 7% on the full cost of stay.
The tourist accommodation fee will be used to finance the destination marketing activities undertaken by the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) as it promotes Saint Lucia’s tourism product worldwide and particularly in key markets within the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and Europe. The fee will also be used to support village tourism development and destination management and development of the local product in Saint Lucia. The intention is to strengthen the SLTA’s ability to increase its marketing of the destination and to support tourism development in Saint Lucia with the collection of a fee that correlates to visitor arrivals.
Saint Lucia attracts up to 350,000 stay-over visitors to its shores every year. SLTA has set a target of 541,000 stay-over visitors by 2022. SLTA wants to increase airlift seat capacity and load factor on all flights into Saint Lucia to 85%. SLTA is also working towards increased awareness of brand Saint Lucia. The SLTA’s annual budget for marketing and promotion is approximately $35 million.
Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee said destination marketing benefits all players in the industry – accommodation providers, airlines, tour operators, travel agents, ground handlers, sites and attractions. He further commented, “It’s always a challenge for small countries to allocate much needed resources towards tourism marketing. The accommodation fee allows tourism to pay for itself, as the tax will be levied to tourist to the island. It frees up much needed funds for healthcare, education and national security.”