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'They are basically adding new fees every minute'- Frequent visitor to VI

- Environmental Levy takes effect today, September 1, 2017
Visitors arriving in the Virgin Islands via air or by sea will be required to pay a fee of $10.00. Photo: VINO/File
The National Democratic Party (NDP) Government of Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (AL) has been criticised for imposing many taxes and hardship on its residents and this new tax was also not well received by some outside of the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
The National Democratic Party (NDP) Government of Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (AL) has been criticised for imposing many taxes and hardship on its residents and this new tax was also not well received by some outside of the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - On August 31, 2017, the Government of the Virgin Islands announced in a press release that the implementation of an Environmental and Tourism Levy will take effect today, September 1, 2017. Visitors arriving in the territory via air or by sea will be required to pay a fee of $10.00.

The Environmental Protection and Tourism Improvement Fund Act, 2017 which was passed in the House of Assembly on June 9, and subsequently gazetted on June 12, states that all visitors arriving to the Territory via air or sea are required to pay the levy.

According to the Government of the Virgin Islands, in compliance with the Environmental Protection and Tourism Improvement Fund Act 2007, only the following persons are exempted: residents and belongers; non-residents two years or under; Officers of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court; guest of the government; official representatives of the Government of any  country or territory; persons accorded diplomatic privileges in accordance with the Diplomatic Privileges Ordinance; and persons exempted by the Minister by Order published in the Gazette.

Other exemptions include visitors arriving in the Virgin Islands on a second or subsequent occasion in the course of the same visit; persons in transit who on arrival do not leave the airport or dock; and crew of vessels.

New fees being added every minute!

The National Democratic Party (NDP) Government has been criticised for imposing many taxes and hardship on its residents and this new tax was also not well received by some outside of the Virgin Islands.

In an interview with Melissa C. Wolfe, a resident of St Thomas, USVI, she stated that she is very upset that the VI government is adding a next fee for visitor.

Some have claimed that the Government is trying to make back money from raiding the treasury to win the 2015 snap elections and for the many project overruns.

"I don't agree with it and they are going to make people stop coming over to visit. We already have to pay too much for departure tax and now we have to pay another one."

Speaking with another frequent traveler to the Virgin Islands, Kaydeon N. White, resident of St Croix pointed out that she notices that the fees are slowly being added, noting that the  VI government is trying to make money from these small taxes.

"I'm basically always travelling to the BVI, so I will definately notice when a new tax is added. They are just slowly adding new fees every minute," noting that this is to slow down the influx of people coming into the Virgin Islands.

All visitors must have the necessary documents available to help determine their status.

The monies collected will be used to facilitate environmental protection and improvement, climate change, and the maintenance and development of tourist sites and other tourism related activities.

29 Responses to “'They are basically adding new fees every minute'- Frequent visitor to VI”

  • Tourist (01/09/2017, 06:58) Like (25) Dislike (5) Reply
    Let's hope that the cruise ship passengers are to pay the same fee; as they represent a majority of the arrivals, or are they -once again- exempted.
    • cruise ship (01/09/2017, 09:28) Like (24) Dislike (0) Reply
      What makes it worst is the Cruise Ship passengers are the ones who damages the environment even more than a usual visitor ....
    • Correct (01/09/2017, 10:58) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
      Yes, cruise passengers are exempt. Can you believe such foolishness??
    • True (01/09/2017, 11:00) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      winner winner chicken dinner! Yes they ARE exempted!
  • Tourist (01/09/2017, 07:11) Like (21) Dislike (24) Reply
    This govt killing the BVI economy killin the small man businesses killing the local boat charter companies that have to now carry up their prices higher and givin the stt companies more head way to come in. The next govt who takes over is in alot of trouble
    • please (01/09/2017, 07:30) Like (0) Dislike (4) Reply
      Reading is fundamental, they pay this themselves on arrival so no one has to carry up prices. With the cruising permit fees for boats not based in the BVI being double of our own they are hardly giving Stt companies more headway to come in.
  • wow (01/09/2017, 07:15) Like (11) Dislike (6) Reply
    So as of today, every tourist that comes to the bvi wheather by air or sea has to pay $10. lol this government i tel you
    • Digusted (01/09/2017, 08:54) Like (4) Dislike (32) Reply
      WE need to stop being so foolish and negative about everything the blinking gov't do. all the other islands do it but it is a part of the airline tickets so you do not have to go in line. For once let us support the men and women we put in their to run this territory. and @ Tourist when you were running free it was no problem, you go to another country no problem. But the government is getting updated and you talking PIDDLE, if you do not want to pay do not come.
      • yeah (01/09/2017, 10:04) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
        In which all the other islands do you see this being done?
        • Correct (01/09/2017, 11:54) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
          This fee (or similar) is charged by most, if not all other Caribbean Islands but it's included in the airline tickets so you don't 'think' you're paying a fee. Do a fee breakdown of tickets going to the Caribbean or even the USA and you will be surprised all the fees you pay.
      • THINK! (02/09/2017, 09:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        I have friends traveling for a vacation to St. Thomas and I wanted them to visit me for a day trip. For this they have to pay an additional $10.00! This is over $100.00 in travel and then we want to have people spend money as well. Anyway, what I have not seen is a plan of what the funds wiil be used on we can track what ever improvements these funds should bring. It is so easy for the government to say "no plastic bags" and have businesses and the puplic do something as opposed to the government doing something by theestablishment of a viable recycling program. It seems like give me the money as we will do what we want with no checks and balances.
  • Bull (01/09/2017, 07:23) Like (13) Dislike (3) Reply
    This is just more money to line their pockets. This NDP is killing the tourism industry. There are so many othet pla es to go in yhe Caribbean and around the world that has no such charges and taxes. We dont have anything that special besides the sailing yhe we can boast on. Our tourist board does not one dam thing.
  • vex (01/09/2017, 08:49) Like (31) Dislike (1) Reply
    They have to make up for the money they thief
  • sign (01/09/2017, 09:03) Like (24) Dislike (0) Reply
    What needs to happen is a sign that says "Welcome to the BVIs. Please deposit all your money in the boxes provided, and take the next flight or ferry home. Thank you for your support"
  • AOC (01/09/2017, 09:32) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    The imposition of this new tax is so ridiculous and counter productive to visitors arriving in the BVI that I am surprised the hotels and hospitality industry as a whole wouldn't try and prevent this from happening. I mean this is so brazen and utterly una-abashful that not even Zaccheus, according to the Gospel of Luke, would collect this tax. No shame!
  • LOL (01/09/2017, 10:37) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    an entrance fee
  • dog (01/09/2017, 10:51) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
    While it sounds so idealistic, what about the decisions the government makes daily that is counter to protecting the environment? The new modern buildings that don't get inspected for engineering? the lack of cisterns as back-up? The clearing the brush and filling salt ponds? The building on landfill on mangroves and sea grasses? Allowing dumping of oil and trash in mangroves? electric companies destroying trees like a bomb went off when replacing cable? Not cleaning out guts so there is flooding? allowing trashed vehicles and boats to leak gas leaching into the water? There are so many violations that this tapping the visitor is a violation in its own right. Those visitors are MORE AWARE OF RECYCLING AND ENVIRONMENT THAN BVI WILL EVER BE.
    BTW- what about those who have owned property for 45 years and return three times a year- add to the economy by employment and car rentals? who take care of their land by being ecologically friendly? Why should they get penalized too? Especially when we all know that the money will not go where it is intended to go and will be funneled off into pockets. Violation example: the filling in of West End coastline without public meeting for an industrial park servicing big boats. And being linked to its representative. SHAME!
  • Environment yeah sure (01/09/2017, 11:07) Like (25) Dislike (0) Reply
    It aint the tax that bother me so its the claim that the govt will actually use this money to do something positive for the environment. Please this govt still burning trash on a hill like the stone ages....
  • LOL (01/09/2017, 11:56) Like (1) Dislike (33) Reply
    Everyone will make all the noise now and still pay it and move on with their lives. It will kill tourism just like the departure tax on Ferries? Give me a break, it's $10, get over it. It's about time a Government start charging fees to take care of the Territory. Hopefully the funds are managed and spent responsibly.
  • Curious (01/09/2017, 12:09) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    How much Tourism you think there will be after all these extra fees? You think tourists gonna wan come here after knowing they ga spend God knows how much money coming into the territory and they aint even get to experience the outside of the ferry terminal or airport yet? LOL Posed to be attracting people here not scaring them away. Orlando Smith you need to go take a breather and let someone else run this country. Please..... Iya only helping yall self by doing this nonsense. We as BVI landers are pissed and we don't have to spend these extra fees. Imagine the tourists Yall wan to come here to spend money to help iya pay back for all the money you lost. ONLY JAH KNOWS!!!!
  • joke (01/09/2017, 13:50) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Maybe they can use the money to clean up that environmental disaster at Brandywine "beach".
  • Stt car rental (01/09/2017, 14:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    St Thomas you have to pay $25 for a temporary drivers license that only lasts 30 days. Since 2012 when it started I have not rented since.
  • Fungi (01/09/2017, 20:54) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Money is fungible. There is no way that this govt is going to segregate the money to fund environmental causes. If it wanted to it could do so now but it doesn't. This is just another tax on non-voters but without a coherent strategy all this nickel and dining will eventually result in decline. Watch the Spanish virgins reap the benefits.
  • E. Leonard (02/09/2017, 04:32) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Environmental resources are critical to the growth, development , and sustainability of the Virgin Islands, i.e., sea, archaeological sites, historical sites, museums, attractions............etc. These environmental resources are used for the quiet and enjoyment of both residents and visitors. Tourism, one-half of the VI economic twin pillars, depends heavily on these resources, especially the waters. Both land and sea tourists are attracted by the waters. Moreover, both residents and visitors contribute to the degradation of environmental resources. As such, both groups should pay to preserve and protect these vital environmental resources. Funds collected from the Environmental and Tourism Levy must be "Fenced" and used only for environmental purposes. If the Levy is to promote tourism, why are tourists exempted? Both tourists and residents benefit from environmental resources preservation and protection and both should pay for it. The VI will not be alone in tourists contributing to preserving and protecting environmental resources; its sister regional countries do likewise.

    Moreover, the rate of taxation relative to GDP can affect the level of revenue and economic growth, per an extensive study by National Center for Policy Analysis. According to the study, on average maximum revenue is collected when the overal rate of taxation is approximately 43% of GDP. Similarly, on average, maximum growth is attained when the overall rate of taxation is approximately 20% of GDP. Though it is a play employed by many countries, higher taxes do not necessarily result in higher revenues. Tax avoidance increases with high taxes.
  • hawker (02/09/2017, 06:40) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Readers keep in mind that the Government just lost over 7 Million dollars to BVI airways so they have to re-coup that funds so more taxes for the poor local people
  • Freedom! (02/09/2017, 08:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This government has run local and tourist alike
  • Hmmm (02/09/2017, 11:32) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    More money fo the cashiers to steal? LMAO!!!

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