A call is being made by the managing director of Carvalho’s Cruise Services Ltd, Charles Carvalho, for the government to remove Value Added Tax (VAT) from the cruise ship industry in the next budget.
Speaking to the Express yesterday on the improvements he would like to see in the 2023 budget on Monday, Carvalho said that in 1985 legislation was passed to make cargo ships zero-rated for VAT. He thinks it’s high time to remove VAT on cruise ships that bring US currency.
“I don’t think that when VAT was introduced the term used for outer vessels would have meant cruise ships and yachts. I noticed quite recently that the VAT has been removed on the yachting industry, but not on the cruise industry. We must do everything in our power to attract cruise lines to revisit our coasts,” Carvalho stressed.
He noted that in recent times the world has started to take global warming seriously and cruise lines have already started cutting carbon emissions and building new ships to use natural gas and methanol. The cruise industry is also encouraging ports to adopt shore power, which means that when a cruise ship is in port, it connects to networks across the country.
“I was delighted to see the Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, at a recent press conference, indicating that Trinidad would soon be a major destination for the refueling of ships with methanol,” he said.
Carvalho said he would like to see the tourism industry direct its marketing efforts towards cruise passengers, not cruise passengers.
“It is passenger demand for ships to include Trinidad and Tobago in their itineraries that would make the difference. This, I am sure, would see additional cruise ships calling at our three cruise ports in Trinidad and Tobago,” he pointed out.
Furthermore, the executive strongly believes that the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts needs a larger share of the national budget which can be spent on “marketing and upgrading of sites and attractions”.
Carvalho explained that these additional resources should be specific and not go towards local sponsorship of events.
“These events should have their own marketing budget. By increasing the ministry’s budget, we would now see it getting the attention it has been missing for too long,” he added.