17 Mar DON’T TOUCH THE TEF
Opposition Spokesman on Tourism Dr. Wykeham McNeill is expressing deep concern about the move by Government to transfer funds collected by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) to central government to support the budget rather than its intended purpose as a dedicated fund to ensure the sustainable development of our tourism industry.
The Fund which was set up over a decade ago following extensive consultations with stakeholders was intended to revolutionize the tourism industry. The enhancement fee collected from each visitor is meant to provide dedicated financing to sustain overseas marketing of the islands tourism offerings both in traditional and new markets as well as upgrade our tourism product.
Commitments were given to our tour operator partners as well as local tourism stakeholders that the money collected would be managed by a board representative of the industry and Government.
This move betrays those commitments that were given, and will also damage the credibility of Government which must rely on partnerships to grow the economy.
“Having left office with the tourism sector experiencing levels of unprecedented growth and optimism, I am deeply concerned with the current activities which follows the sharp reduction already made in budgetary allocation from the TEF for overseas marketing,” said Dr. McNeill. He further asserted that with so much more to be done on the development of public beaches and transformational projects in resort towns, the move is a retrograde one.
Dr. McNeill is calling on the Government to reconsider this plan which he says goes against the spirit and intent of the partners who spearheaded the creation of the fund and fears we are aiming to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.