Cruise passengers should pay environmental levy — Flax-Charles
Junior Minister of Trade and Economic Development, Shereen Flax-Charles said it is time for cruise passengers to pay the environmental levy that all other visitors are made to pay on arrival in the territory.
The monies collected from that tax are used to facilitate environmental protection and improvement, climate change, and the maintenance and development of tourist sites and other tourism-related activities.
But when the levy was introduced in the BVI, cruise passengers were among those exempt from paying it.
While making her contribution to the 2023 budget debate on Tuesday, Flax-Charles said the government is in need of revenue that could be gained from each cruise passenger who visits the BVI.
“The cruise passengers – we welcome them, we love to have then but they need to be paying their fair share. The environmental impact from the cruise passenger is the greatest,” Flax-Charles emphasized. “I have no issue with cruise passengers. But if the land-based (tourists) and the charter yatchs have to pay that levy then we need to take a closer look.”
Flax-Charles also said she doesn’t believe the average cruise passenger would mind paying a tax that will help to maintain the BVI.
“We’re not going to nickel and dime persons but the average American tourist has no issue whatsoever paying to assist in maintaining Nature’s Little Secret,” Flax-Charles stated.
She also said she is aware that cruise passengers are not subjected to the levy because of berthing agreements the territory has with cruise lines. But she insisted that the territory needs to reevaluate those arrangements as the tax could assist the BVI.
Flax-Charles also said she shared her concern with the Standing Finance Committee that is responsible for conducting in-depth analysis of the territory’s budget.