Some months ago the Barbados Tourism Authority finally published a list of licensed hotels and a limited number of other accommodation providers. Sadly, I only saw it in the press and failed to understand why the agency did not post this latest listing on the official website, where the majority of the end users could access this information at any time prior to booking.
There seems absolutely no point having a national website unless it is maintained. A simple example is that three months after being granted unilateral extraordinary concessions Sandals Barbados does not yet appear on the visitbarbados.org, accommodation section. In fact, the site is so far out-of-date the location is still shown as Casuarina Beach Club, even ignoring its brief history as a Couples Resort.
It is quite frankly staggering the array of alternative accommodation that is widely advertised on the Internet, with absolutely no indication whether these properties meet the same insurance, fire and health requirements that our registered lodging offerings are required under law to comply with. What is also alarming is the number of establishments that make no mention of VAT (Value Added Tax). Could it be their annual revenue gleaned from rentals does not meet the minimum trading threshold of $80,000 per year.
In a surprising number of cases nightly rentals exceed US$400 a night, so a total of 100 nightly lettings annually would already place them in a VAT liable situation.
There could also be at least two other explanations. That many owners rent their individual properties through a villa/apartment/condominium agency, who then charge and account for any VAT element, or payment is collected offshore and therefore due taxes are avoided altogether. According to the Laws of Barbados – LRO 1997 – CAP. 342 section 25 (1)