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Visitors to start paying environmental levy on September 1

The government has announced that visitors to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) will start paying an environmental and tourism levy of $10 at the territory’s ports of entry, effective September 1.

The levy is being implemented after the House of Assembly, on June 9, passed the Environmental Protection and Tourism Improvement Fund Act 2017.

The Act was gazetted on June 12, paving the way for visitors arriving in the territory via air or sea to be charged the levy.

The legislation, however, makes provision for the following persons to be exempted:

1. Residents and belongers

2. Non-residents two years old or under

3. Officers of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court

4. Guests of the Government

5. Official representatives of the Government of any country/territory

6. Persons accorded diplomatic privileges in accordance with the Diplomatic Privileges Ordinance

7. And persons exempted by the Minister by Order published in the Gazette.

“Other exemptions include visitors arriving in the [British] Virgin Islands on a second or subsequent occasion in the course of the same visit, persons in transit who on arrival do not leave the airport or dock, and crew of vessels,” said a media release from the Government Information Service.

“All visitors must have the necessary documents available to help determine their status.”

The National Democratic Party government said the funds collected will be used to facilitate environmental protection and improvement, climate change, as well as the maintenance and development of tourist sites and other tourism-related activities.
In the meantime, a few days ago, the BVI government also announced that, effective August 1, cruising permit fees for home and foreign based-charter boats will increase respectively to $6 and $16 per person per day.

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