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Gov’t mulls up to 300% increase in cruise permit fees

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By Horace Mills, BVI News Online Staff

The government has announced the new cruise permit fees it is proposing for local and foreign vessels day-tripping in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

The biggest increase is by 300 percent for locals and foreigners who cruise in-season from December to April 30 each year.

Fees out-of-season (May to November 30) are lower.

Foreigners will be charged more than locals year-round, according to proposed amendments to the Cruise Permit Ordinance Cap 203, which is now being put forward as the Cruising Permit (Amendment) Act 2017.

The chart below, which appears in the proposed Act, outlines the new fees the Government is likely to implement.

SOURCE: Cruising Permit (Amendment) Act 2017

A copy of the Ordinance with the existing fees could not be readily located. But, according to the BVI Marine Guide, the fees currently being charged ARE:

SOURCE: BVI Marine Guide

Meanwhile, in the proposed legislative amendments, the government has altered the categorization of the two types of boats day-tripping in local waters.

The phrase “charter boat based in the Territory” is to be replaced with the newly defined term “home-based charter boats”. Home-based charter boats are those registered in the British Virgin Islands; home ported in the British Virgin Islands; and having their charters originate in the British Virgin Islands.

Meanwhile, the phrase “charter boat not based in the Territory” is being replaced with the newly defined term “foreign-based charter boat”. Foreign-based charter boats are defined as any boats other than a home-based charter boat (as described immediately above).

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith, in his 2017 budget presentation on January 17, announced that ‘slight’ increases would have been added to cruising permit fees.

He, at the time, also said his administration is seeking to rake in an additional $1.9 million from cruise permits. “We have discussed this with the local industry, and these discussions have resulted in slight increases which we both agree will be appropriate,” Premier Smith told the territory in January.

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