Diverting TEF Funds to Finance Tax Package Counterproductive Says JHTA
KINGSTON, JAMAICA, April 10-The suggestion that the TEF should contribute 50% of its receipts toward financing the Government's $1.5 million income tax break is well intentioned but does not fall within the mandate of the TEF, says the JHTA.
"The funds from TEF are essential in maintaining the competitiveness of the tourism sector, its growth and other critical initiatives such as the Tourism Linkages Hub which aims to achieve a reduction in imports and to better build the absorptive capacity of Jamaican businesses to benefit from tourism" the Association said.
The decision in 2004 when the TEF was established was to have a dedicated fund paid directly by visitors to the island on their airline tickets to maintain the tourism product and fulfil the mandate of the Tourism Master Plan to build out a tourism industry that has both competitive and comparative advantage. In effect this would reduce dependence on the Consolidated Fund by the Ministry of Tourism and in turn, the Jamaican taxpayer.
Just over US$40 million is collected by the TEF annually, of which 50% is used to market the destination while the other 50% is used to maintain and develop the tourism product to improve the destination's attractiveness island-wide and increase visitor arrivals and expenditure.