BTIA and BHA Reiterates Its Position on GST

BELIZE CITY, Belize (July 7, 2006) - On Monday, July 3, 2006, after months of intense dialogue and consultations with the tourism industry and government, the Belize Hotel Association (BHA) and the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) made their first joint public appearance on the popular LOVE FM Morning Show. This joint appearance follows the July 1st GST implementation in which the accommodation sector was placed in the 'Exempt' Classification. The BHA and the BTIA have both lobbied with government for the accommodation sector to be placed in a 'Zero-Rated' Classification which the industry argues will help to grow the sector, as well as increase revenues for government in the long-run.

BHA's President, Mariam Roberson told Love FM that "two studies were done by the BHA to support the sector's argument for a zero-rating. The first study looked at the current occupancy level across the industry while the second study considered the effects that the exempt classification would have on the accommodation sector".

Mrs. Roberson went on say that "the exempt status will only increase operating cost thereby decreasing the competitiveness of the accommodation sector and Belize tourism." She added that "at no time did the BHA or the BTIA advocated not to pay taxes; however, agrees that taxation should be fair and placing the accommodation industry in the 'exempt classification' under GST was unfair." Accompanying Mrs. Roberson was BHA's 1st Vice-President, Einer Gomez and BTIA's Executive Director, Andrew Godoy.

On June 19th, 2006 the BTIA and the BHA sent a joint letter to the Prime Minister of Belize and copied to the Cabinet, defending the industry's request to be placed in a 'zero-rating' classification. The letter made specific reference to the Horwath study carried out by the BHA which cited an industry that is well below average regional occupancy performance as a major concern why the industry cannot absorb a double taxation nor be placed in an 'exempt classification'.

The BTIA and the BHA will continue to lobby and advocate for a fair and just taxation for the accommodation sector. Having being placed in an 'Exempt Classification' on July 1st, stakeholders can be assured that over the coming months, emphasis will be placed on educating the industry and the general public on the effects of an 'exempt classification' on the accommodation sector. We will continue to substantiate our request for a fair and equitable taxation, which we feel, can only be done through a 'zero-rating' of the accommodation portion of our business.

For more information about Belize's tourism industry and the GST on the accommodation sector, please contact the BHA at 223 0669, E-Mail: [email protected] or the BTIA at telephone 227-5717 / 1144, E-Mail: [email protected] or visit our website at