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#493553 - 07/19/14 03:15 PM Tourism$: less than 0.1% back to Ambergris Caye
Marty Offline

The economic contribution of Ambergris Caye is huge and to appreciate how much money is generated on the island, it is important to point out some statistics. San Pedro has 154 registered hotels and resorts out of a total of 765 in the entire country. That is equivalent to 1,774 rooms out of the 7,210 registered in the entire country. According to government figures, the tourism industry is the second largest revenue earner for the country (second to agriculture) and the main economic driving force for Ambergris Caye. Tourism contributed an estimated $1.2 billion to the country’s economy in 2013. It is estimated that 46 % of that revenue collected by the GOB was contributed through the economic activities on Ambergris Caye. That figure is approximately $552 million. GOB’s sources of tourism revenue are through accommodation taxes, Hotel Application and License Fees, Live-Aboard Taxes, Cruise Head Tax, Tour Guide Licensing Fees, Tour Operator Licensing Fees, Qualified Retirement Program [QRP] Fees, General Sales Tax on Restaurant and Bar Services and Tours, Business Tax on Accommodation, Restaurant and Bar Services and Tours and Business Tax on the Sale of Condominiums.

Those figures do not reflect General Sales Tax (GST), business tax, import duties and Social Security contributions from other business on Ambergris Caye. For example a medium-sized business that employs five people on Ambergris Caye with an annual gross profit of $360,000 can pay up to $30,000 in GST. In addition to business taxes and Social Security, one business alone can pay as much as $37,500 to the government coffers annually.

But for the world’s #1 Island (according to TripAdvisor), and despite contributing so much, the island sees much neglect and countless issues affecting it. According to the Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca, the promise made by his party reflects the new economic reform agenda of the PUP for 2014 and beyond. “We need a new, more progressive and equitable budgetary process that allows communities like San Pedro to realize a greater, fairer return on the revenue it generates for the National Economy. This means that we must review and reform the tax structure in consultation with the private sector. We must review GST, Business Taxes, Hotel Taxes, Duties, and all other taxes on inputs into the Tourism Sector to ensure that we are providing incentives for growth and new investments in tourism,” said Fonseca. “At present, the allocation of Government revenue under the Budget each fiscal year is largely unplanned and inequitable. This has resulted, for example, in this United Democratic Party (UDP) government spending more than $100M on projects in Belize City while many rural communities remain neglected, some even without the basic necessities of water and electricity.”

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun

#493557 - 07/19/14 03:52 PM Re: Tourism$: less than 0.1% back to Ambergris Caye [Re: Marty]
Chris Offline
a good friend of mine came up with a great and fair minded idea a few years ago. Ambergris Caye should be able to retain 20% of the stamp transfer tax it currently sends to Belmopan on real estate transactions. That would be a good start.

On a somewhat related note: I was passing through Belize International Airport security the other day. One of the security girls asked me where I was going. I told her San Pedro. She INSTANTLY and SERIOUSLY said "I HATE San Pedro."

I suppose she's a very junior part of the machinery of the Government of Belize but there is ample evidence to suggest such an attitude goes right to the top at GOB. It doesn't bode well for the island.

#493562 - 07/19/14 05:59 PM Re: Tourism$: less than 0.1% back to Ambergris Caye [Re: Marty]
arklatex Offline

Why would she hate San Pedro?

#493563 - 07/19/14 06:04 PM Re: Tourism$: less than 0.1% back to Ambergris Caye [Re: Marty]
GwenA Offline
Isn't it interesting, Chris is so ready to point that out? Chris is the person that hates San Pedro, or he would have kept It to himself. There is a tradition of politeness amongst Belizeans, so yet again it's about the poster, not about what was said. Keep that in mind and disregard the nastiness.

#493570 - 07/20/14 01:15 AM Re: Tourism$: less than 0.1% back to Ambergris Caye [Re: Marty]
Inplub Offline
Gwen I have known Chris for well over 10 years and I do not want to come between two people that looks like one wants to start a fight. I do not believe Chris hates San Pedro he has lived here far to long to hate the place or he would have moved out years ago. On the other hand I hear you are selling and going, somewhere nice I hope.

#493584 - 07/20/14 07:18 AM Re: Tourism$: less than 0.1% back to Ambergris Caye [Re: GwenA]
bywarren Offline
I find GwenA's comments to be contradictory, hypocritical and a number of less complementary adjectives.
Anyone of us, me included, who have visited, bought property or become involved in business on Ambergris Cay are much more of the problem than the solution. Driving up real estate values to the level the average Belizean cannot afford, attracting tourists in numbers the infrastructure cannot support with the lame logic that it creates jobs for Belizeans, maids and bartenders mostly. Then creating unhealthy slums for them to live in. Whoops, I almost forgot the advantage we create for the corrupt politicians to profit. Then in an attempt to justify our actions, we come up with the catch phrase "sustainable development". Or what more realists might better describe as "sustainable destruction".
That brings us back to GwenA who can't understand how some Belizeans might resent what all we have done for them. And to consider it all the fault of her neighbors. Good thing she did not build her house out of glass.

#493586 - 07/20/14 07:33 AM Re: Tourism$: less than 0.1% back to Ambergris Caye [Re: Marty]
Chris Offline
Gwen A, have another drink and chill.

#493600 - 07/20/14 02:44 PM Re: Tourism$: less than 0.1% back to Ambergris Caye [Re: Marty]
Bear Offline
When one considers that SP is generating these kinds of revenues in spite of the issues that are frequently documented and oft lamented as revenue killers, where and what is the driving force to improve revenue retention? Whether it's fair or not obviously doesn't sway those who control the strings and cash flow, nor apparently do egregious infrastructure and social issues. So what does? Just wondering...

#493610 - 07/20/14 04:53 PM Re: Tourism$: less than 0.1% back to Ambergris Caye [Re: Marty]
GwenA Offline
I think this is funny. Why should someone visit and invest in Belize and be valued only because they participate in the business environment? There are many other ways to belong to a community. But, because business people, in general, are so desperate to wring money out of the Golden Goose, they become suspicious and critical of people that move there, build houses, live there, and don't take a cent away from La Isla. That's why it's really a hostile environment for retirees whose money comes from elsewhere. Basically, I have spent every dollar in Belize for many years, and have never taken a dollar away. How can this be a criticism? I've supported builders, house cleaners, vegetable producers and sellers, gardeners, handymen, etc. It goes on and on. I have taken no dollars from Belize. You can see how twisted the logic is.

#493611 - 07/20/14 06:41 PM Re: Tourism$: less than 0.1% back to Ambergris Caye [Re: Marty]
GwenA Offline
By Warren? Where did I ever say anything about Belizeans resenting something?? I can't find it anywhere? I'm pretty straight forward. I have said nothing about Belizeans. Surely about developers, surely about some real estate peeps, surely about business people that don't understand anything about people who move to Belize with no intention to start a business. Please tell me about what I said that is contradictory, specifically. I'ld be happy to address it, or clarify...

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