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FECTAB Appeals to Government for “Fair Play”

FECTAB Appeals to Government for “Fair Play”
February 16
19:51 2019 NEWSPAPER - By Marion Ali - 

The Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize (FECTAB) has called on the government to make the tourism business an even and “fair” playing field for all. During a press conference yesterday, FECTAB raised concerns again over opportunities that bigger competitors in the business are tapping into in order to get tax rebates as well as benefitting from other opportunities.

FECTAB’s President, David Almendarez spoke of a judgement that a bigger tour company won that entitles that company to get back tax monies from the government. “Money which they have already calculated in good faith to give our country, dehn wahn tek it back. … Ih stink dat yo di try tek back money from fu we country weh yoh done give eena good faith,” Almendarez chided.

The argument over the taxes follow an incident a few years ago when one of FECTAB’s members, Yhonny Rosado was being taken to court by the General Sales Tax Department to recover taxes it said he owed the government.

FECTAB also claims that its members are being left out of opprotunities which they could have benefitted from, referring to assistance that Taiwan has provided for Belize which is being funnelled through the Belize Trade and Investment Development Services (BELTRAIDE), rather than being made available to the smaller tour operators. FECTAB feels that when the benefits are placed through the system, it is the bigger operators that have the advantage over their members.

FECTAB also feels that the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has not given its members fair consideration when it gives out its awards of recognition because, based on previous years, it usually is the bigger rival who wins those awards.

The tour operators did express gratitude to Belize City Mayor, Bernard Wagner for declaring that he will not agree to relocate their business from the Fort Street Tourism Village Terminal One area to the Marion Jones sporting complex. This was FECTAB’s gripe a few months ago when a proposal was tabled by the BTB to relocate the local tour operators on grounds that their presence at the terminal was creating undue traffic congestion and other problems

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