Published On: Wed, Dec 12th, 2012

CTB-budget 2013 depends on room tax

WILLEMSTAD — As in 2012, the budget for the Curaçao Tourist Bureau (CTB) next year will be around 30 million guilders, Tarzeno Circkens, chairman of the Curaçao Tourism Development Foundation (CTDF) confirmed. However, much depends on whether the collected room tax will go to CTB. It regards an estimated amount of 10 million guildersCirckens received an oral promise from the department of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development that the budget will be the same for next year. CTB has lodged an appeal against the legal proceedings instituted by a local hotel on the overdue payment of room tax, which hotel was put in the right so far, said Circkens.

The most important point is the principle of equality. The (local) resort that had instituted the legal proceedings argued that large hotels from international chains are often exempted from paying room tax, but this only applies for new hotels from international chains, said Circkens. Now that CTB has lodged an appeal, the measure taken under the previous cabinet (Schotte) to collect (overdue) room tax of 7 percent per night at all local hotels and resorts will remain in force for the time being.

The judge ruled that CTB must take new decisions on the two notices of objection from the local resort at Jan Thiel against the collecting of the overdue room tax. The hotel had substantiated its request by referring to the violation of the principle of equality. As some local resorts were also granted exemption at the time, the resort at Jan Thiel requested that payment of room tax for January 2012 be cancelled. It regards an amount of 48,000 guilders.

CTB had no choice but to lodge an appeal. If the room tax is not collected this will have consequences for the budget, which in part (10 million guilders) is based on revenues from the room tax. As known, the subsidies for all institutes – including CTDF – for 2013 have been cut back by 5 percent, although CTDF could perhaps get away from this cut-back.

The approx. 30 million guilders per year is by far insufficient, considering 55 million guilders per year is needed for an optimal implementation of the master plan for tourism 2010-2014. However, as yet, this is a utopia for CTB. “On the other hand, CTB is blamed if tourism turns out disappointing”, Circkens said laconically.

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