CITA defends tourism taxes and regulations

| 19/07/2018 | 16 Comments

(CNS): The private sector association representing the tourism industry has come to the defence of the regulation, licensing and tax regime surrounding the local accommodation sector. The Cayman Islands Tourism Association released a statement this week saying that the regulation has served the tourism industry and the country well, as it is fair for all and ensures the safety and well-being of visitors. Responding to a critical editorial in the Cayman Compass this week, CITA said the paper had misrepresented the sector and the need for licensing and standards.

In a long statement (see below) the association said that the accommodation licences “ensure the safety and a minimal standard of quality for all commercial accommodation provided to visitors in the Cayman Islands regardless of how or where the business is transacted”.

Accepting that the law is due for a revision, CITA defended the regulation of accommodation, which it said has fuelled the strong reputation of the Cayman Islands tourism experience, and despite the 13% room tax, which is paid by the guest and not the property owner, Cayman continues to maintain one of the highest average daily accommodation rates in the Caribbean.

In an era when the community at large as well as industry, the tourism industry being no exception, continues to demand more …is it really unreasonable that a tax be levied for a sector that requires the high level of service and support as does tourism?” the association asked, adding that a more constructive suggestion for government would be to ring-fence a fixed percentage of the tax for specific tourism-related services and enforcement. 

CITA denied that the licensing regime was “unpleasant or unreasonable” and, in addition to ensuring the safety of guests and that they have a pleasant experience during their stay, it creates an important database of information.

“Over the course of a decade and longer for some, the CITA Accommodation Directors in managing the licensing inspection process for small, medium and large properties across Grand Cayman, have never felt that the process was arduous or unnecessary,” the association said, as it defended the overall regime and pointed to the work done by the Department of Tourism (DOT) to maintain standards, as well as helping to promote and market accommodation.

CITA said it had also worked to combat the challenges presented by aspects of new platforms, such as Airbnb. This site is completely reshaping tourism accommodation in some jurisdictions, where locals have been entirely sidelined because former long-term rentals have switched to this new ‘gig economy’.

CITA praised the DOT, which “had the foresight and fortitude to negotiate a memorandum of understanding with Airbnb in order to facilitate such business development within the Cayman Islands regulatory structure …protecting our standards, fair practice and ultimately, the Cayman Islands reputation”.

While noting that there is work to be done to enhance and protect Cayman’s tourism, including expanding the  benefits of tourism beyond Seven Mile Beach and encouraging more Caymanians into the sector, CITA urged the community to support the current review of the national plan for tourism and the regime that exists to protect the standards of the Cayman brand.

CITA press statement, 18 July 2018

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Comments (16)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    CAYMAN treats their foreign wokers best in the world, thats why they all wants to come here plus the wages, just ask the philipanoes

  2. Anonymous says:

    Reservation Total
    Room & Package: $954.20
    Taxes & Services Fees: $119.30
    Total: $1,073.50
    Total Due Today: $149.18
    When You Stay, You’ll Pay: $924.32

    This is for hotel in Orlando, Florida so contrary to some people suggesting other places in the world do charge a tax. People expect Government to provide all kinds of things but no one wants to pay for it. People pay a lot more than 13% tax in some places.

    All Cayman needs to do is make sure that the service they provide is worth it.

  3. Anonymous says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    CITA as an educated and well travelled 4th generation Caymanian, please be careful that Cayman does not continue to truly out price itself. Tourism is vital to our economy. I do not deny that but I have been to many places in the world that would truly put the CI to shame when it comes to the intangible and tangible aspects of Tourism – customer service, locals employed in the industry, policies that ensure the protection of the local products including the protection of the natural environment as well as those that ensure the sustainability of the industry for many years to come.

    Heaven for bid that we continue our ‘cocky’ attitude that Cayman is the ‘Gem’ of the world and that there is no other place to visit like it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Except there are dozens of Islands around the world just like Cayman,

      We might be convenient for tourists from the US to get to, but is just coincidental
      Don’t mistake our successes for individuality or supremacy
      Many jurisdictions are waiting for us to slip up when it comes to financial services or tourism so that they can take our place

  5. Anonymous says:

    In the information age, the need for public sector scrutiny of bed and breakfasts has almost disappeared. Review ratings will take care of the bad guys. We are dealing with a 21 Century situation with a a 20th Century approach.

  6. Cess Pita says:

    And who looks out for the poorest of our imported workers on minimum wage who are forced to live in primitive, roach infested accomodation and charged extortionate rents by our local landlords?.

  7. Anonymous says:

    2nd highest cost of living in the world. thanks for nothing ppm.

  8. Anonymous says:

    the last thing cayman needs is more red tape.

  9. Anonymous says:

    its protectionism. end of story.
    same as the uber debacle..

  10. Anonymous says:

    That little wretch @ Cayman Compass always looking to write foolishness.

    • West Bay Premier says:

      I didn’t write foolishness , I told them to get ready because this was going to happen to them .

  11. Anonymous says:

    The “little red lepricorn” strikes again!

  12. Anonymous says:

    The licensing is necessary to prevent bad accommodation destroying the industry. However, honour taxes are dubious. There is little chance of the Tourism department verifying that each property is reporting as required. Skimming must be rife.
    Why not drop that requirement and simply increase the license to include the tax revenue based on the size & quality of the property? This amount may not be as much as the tax BUT we could also lose or redeploy some civil servants to compensate. Payment by quarter with definite amounts.
    Think of the future when we continue the same process with double the visitors!!

    • Anonymous says:

      BS. It works great everywhere else without all these government charges and stupid rules. all you are doing is hurtng ordinary people by pretending they are somehow hurting tourism.

      • Anonymous says:

        So have you EVER stayed somewhere that has no licensing? If so, please let us know how it went.
        Every country that I have ever visited and used rented accmodation has had some form of licensing/oversight.

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