Minister Cijntje urges consultation on beach tax

July 7, 2023   –WILLEMSTAD – The proposed Nature and Environment Fund on Curaçao, which would impact tourists and cruise passengers, has surprised Minister of Economic Development, Ruisandro Cijntje. 

This fund, proposed by his colleague, the Minister of Public Health, aims to tax tourists for participating in water activities on the beaches of Curaçao. Additionally, it would require businesses offering these services to pay an annual fee of $1500 (equivalent to 2700 guilders). 

According to the current draft of the national ordinance, stay-over tourists would be required to pay $55 (equivalent to 100 guilders) annually, while cruise passengers staying less than 24 hours in Curaçao would pay $10 per year. Children under 13 years old and residents of Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Sint Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius are exempt from this tax. 

Minister Cijntje expressed his concern that the introduction of such a tax, which would have a significant impact on a key sector of our economy, was not first discussed with professionals from the tourism sector. 

He regrets that the Ministry of Economic Development and important stakeholders such as the Curaçao Tourist Board were not consulted. 

While there are precedents for such taxes for the purpose of nature and environmental protection in the Caribbean region, Cijntje emphasizes that it would be better to thoroughly examine and discuss the pros and cons of this initiative with all relevant parties before implementing it in Curaçao. 

He further emphasizes the need for more funding for other aspects of our island that tourists utilize during their visit, such as infrastructure, the beauty and cleanliness of tourist areas (including beaches), and the safety of tourists. 

Additionally, he highlights the need to consider tourists’ maximum willingness to pay and whether the introduction of such a high tax for the use of our beaches could potentially do more harm than benefit to Curaçao. 

Furthermore, Prime Minister Pisas, who is also the acting Minister of Public Health, denies that there are advanced plans for a beach tax. The concept plan was only discussed in a brainstorming meeting. 

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