Last Friday 1 September as the Environmental and Tourism Levy took effect in the Territory, regional airline LIAT informed its passengers that they were required to pay the $10 upon arrival.
The airline, in an advisory issued on Friday told its customers that the Levy is for arriving passengers who are not resident in the Territory and is not included in their ticket price. Therefore, LIAT told the passengers that the Levy will be collected by the Customs Department via cash or credit/debit cards.
The $10.00 Environmental Protection and Tourism Improvement Fund Levy was passed with amendments on 18 April in the House of Assembly. During the presentation of the objects and reasons of the Bill, Premier and Minister for Finance Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith explained that Clause 3 of the Bill calls for visitors to pay a $10.00 fee whether they arrive by air or sea:
“An environmental levy at the rate of $10 shall be levied on and payable by each visitor arriving in the Virgin Islands by air or sea. A specified sum of money shall be included in the cost of a ticket collected by the owner, master or any agent for any vessel, or by any person through whom passengers are brought into the Virgin Islands,” the Premier said.
This fee, the Premier said will go towards funding environmental protection efforts and tourism industry needs: “The Minister shall direct that the monies of the fund be applied towards activities related to environmental protection improvement, climate change and other matters affecting the environment, the maintenance and development of tourism sites and other tourism-related activities throughout the Territory, and the marketing of the Territory as a premier tourist destination,” Hon. Smith pointed out.