Arguing that the cruise ship sector has one of the “greatest impacts” on the environment, the Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development, Hon Shereen D. Flax-Charles (AL), has said cruise ship passengers must be made to pay the Environmental and Tourism Levy.
The Environmental and Tourism Levy of $10.00, to be paid upon arrival at all ports of entry, became effective on September 1, 2017.
Arguing that the cruise ship sector has
one of the 'greatest impacts' on the environment, Junior Minister for
Trade and Economic Development Hon Shereen D. Flax-Charles (AL) has said
cruise passengers must be made to pay the Environmental and Tourism
All visitors aged three years and older are expected to pay the levy; however, legislation makes provision for exemptions for residents and belongers; non-residents two years or under; officers of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court; guests of the Government; official representatives of the Government of any country/Territory; persons accorded diplomatic privileges in accordance with the Diplomatic Privileges Ordinance; and persons exempted by the Minister by Order published in the Gazette
Other exemptions include visitors arriving in the Virgin Islands
on a second or subsequent occasion in the course of the same visit; persons in transit who on arrival do not leave the airport or dock; crew of vessels and cruise passengers arriving to the Territory via cruise lines, according to Government Information Services (GIS) on May 25, 2018.
Pay ‘fair share’- Hon Flax-Charles
“The cruise passengers, we welcome them, we love to have them, but they need to pay their fair share.
“And I don’t want anybody to take it out of context. I don’t have an issue with cruise passengers, but if the land-based and the charter yachts pay that environmental levy when those passengers come in to hop onboard those yachts or go into the hotels and villas, we need to take a closer look,” Hon Flax-Charles stated during her contribution to the Budget Debate during the Continuation of the Ninth Sitting of the Fourth Session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff's Bottom, Tortola, on December 20, 2022.
The At-Large Representative argued that the Territory needs revenue and making cruise passengers pay the environmental levy is a way to get additional revenues into the coffers.
‘Average American tourist has no issue paying’
“We are not going to nickel and dime persons, but the average American tourist has no issue whatsoever paying to assist in maintaining Nature’s Little Secrets, and yes I said it because we are still Nature’s Little Secrets,” Hon Flax-Charles said.
Funds generated from the Environmental and Tourism Levy are supposed to be used to protect the Territory’s environment; and are meant to be applied towards activities related to environmental protection and improvement, minimising climate change, maintaining and developing tourism sites, and other tourism activities.