Published On: Thu, Aug 16th, 2018

The Level Playing Field Committee provides recommendations to the government

IMG_6755WILLEMSTAD - The Level Playing Field Committee commissioned by the Minister of Finance and Minister of Economic development, recommends the introduction of a mandatory registration system for all accommodation rental providers as of 2019.  This is to increase sales tax compliance and hereby increase funds for promotion and product development of the tourism industry.

On August 15th, the Level Playing Field Committee provided its recommendations to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Gijsbertha and the Minister of Economic Development Dr. Martina on how to promote a level playing field where all active tourism entities who benefit from the tourism industry also financially contribute to its development.

In order to continue to grow the tourism industry it is essential to invest in both the development of our tourism product and the promotion of the destination. The sector and the Curaçao Tourism Board (CTB) have been struggling for a while to obtain sufficient funds to do so. Curaçao Hospitality & Tourism Association (CHATA) strongly believes that all parties that benefit from the sector should also support the marketing and product development efforts by contributing through the payment of their taxes. Therefore, CHATA requested the attention of the Minister of Finance and Minister of Economic Development to promote a equal level playing field. As a response, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Economic Development commissioned a Level Playing Field committee consisting of representatives of CHATA, CTB, Curaçao Airport Partners (CAP) and the Ministries of Finance and Ministry of Economic Development to come up with recommendations to increase compliance to sales tax in the lodging sector.

The Level Playing Field Committee recommends the introduction of a mandatory registration system for all accommodation rental providers in 2019. The registration system will provide new insight to the government into all entities who are currently renting accommodations to tourists. Furthermore, the registration system will increase governmental effectiveness in increasing compliance whilst reducing unnecessary and costly red tape. Compliance should be enforced by a multidisciplinary team consisting of partners such as the Inspectorate, SBAB, MEO and CTB. The Committee also submitted a proposal for a new National Ordinance regarding the introduction of this registration system for accommodations that is ready for approval. The recommendations of the committee are based on extensive research and consultations with various key stakeholders such as apartment owners, SBAB, the Tax Office and the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Development.

According to the President & CEO of CHATA and also Chairman of the Level Playing Field Committee, Mr. Miles Mercera, "The Level Playing field committee has been instrumental in the past few months for the tourism industry. The joined effort between the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economic Development, CTB, CAP and CHATA in realizing a sustainable tourism future has been a tremendous experience. This report showcases the importance of aligning our efforts and working together for a common goal which in this case is tourism development. Funding has always been a struggle for the industry. This can be changed if an equal level playing field is created where all entities who benefit of the sector also contribute to development of the tourism sector. We are convinced that the research done is substantial and that the recommendations of this committee will be evaluated and implemented in the near future. The promotion and actual realization of a level playing field for the industry is a priority and must be seen as a key element in creating a healthy and sustainable tourism sector.

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