Bill To Help Regulate Tourist Accommodation Sector

The draft Tourist Accommodation Bill will function as a guide for new entrants into the sector and provide a roadmap for compliance, fostering a culture of excellence and responsibility among all players in the tourist accommodation sector, both current and prospective.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Ian Gooding-Edghill, highlighted these features, as well as some of the benefits, of the draft Tourist Accommodation Bill, while engaging with stakeholders in the accommodation sector during a Town Hall Meeting last Friday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Mr. Gooding-Edghill noted this move, which is benchmarked against regional and international standards, is a pivotal step forward in enhancing the regulatory sector governing the island’s diverse tourism offerings.  This, he said, is part of the Ministry’s plans to strengthen the quality assurance sector and, in so doing, protect Barbados’ brand and reputation. 

Currently, Barbados has 1,401 registered short-term visitor accommodations, of which 1,201 are unregulated. 

“As we anticipate the ratification of the new rules subject to stakeholder consultation, we envisage a significant increase in the number of registered accommodation establishments as it will comprehensively encompass all types of tourist accommodations.   The bill’s importance cannot be overstated.   It is designed to ensure that stakeholders adhere to national standards through rigorous inspection and monitoring processes.

“The Bill provides minimum standards for housekeeping, maintenance and in room amenities throughout various categories of accommodation.  These regulations once analysed will fortify our current quality assurance standards, aligning them with the dynamic demands of the evolving tourism sector,” the Tourism Minister explained.

He further noted that a strengthened product quality is a key driver enticing more visitors to experience the beauty of Barbados.  “Economically, the benefits are varied, the Bill opens up new avenues for entrepreneurs, creating employment opportunities and generating jobs for the local population, and local economies experience boosts, as tourism revenue is reinvested into community projects, infrastructure development, and the creation of sustainable livelihoods.”

During the town hall meeting, several points and queries were raised by stakeholders, among them the 10 per cent Room Levy; the definition of a short-term rental; handling emotional support animals; ease of doing business, and security measures. 

The Tourism Minister expressed thanks to those stakeholders who shared their thoughts and ideas, and promised that he would continue to have dialogue and engagement with stakeholders on the proposed Bill.