Incentives

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Tourism Development Incentives

The Tourism Development Act, Chapter 87:22 (TDA) was introduced to support the development of tourism in Trinidad and Tobago. The Act provides for Tourism Development Incentives to be granted to owners/operators of various types of tourism projects, once these projects have the potential to contribute substantially to the development, growth and expansion of the industry.

1. Tax benefits:

The tax benefits which the Minister may confer on an owner or operator when an approved tourism project results in the creation of a new tourism project or the expansion of an existing tourism project, shall be—

  • tax exemption for up to seven (7) years in respect of gains or profits from the approved tourism projects;
  • a tax exemption in respect of the gains or profits derived from the initial sale of a villa or condominium or the site for a villa or condominium that forms part of an integrated resort development which is an approved tourism project;
  • accelerated depreciation on depreciable equipment owned by the owner or operator and used in an approved tourism project;
  • a capital allowance in respect of approved capital expenditure incurred by the owner or operator in the creation of a new tourism project or in the expansion of an existing tourism project;
  • carry-over from a tax exemption period, if any, of any loss arising out of the operation or renting of an approved tourism project;
  • tax exemption in respect of any dividend paid to a non-resident shareholder if the recipient is not liable to tax in respect of that dividend in the country in which he is resident;
  • exemption from Motor Vehicle Tax (MVT) for the importation of a vehicle for exclusive use in the transportation of guests/visitors; and
  • 100% Income Tax deduction on approved capital expenditure incurred in conversion of a house into an approved guest house (Section 13B of the Income Tax Act, Chap. 75:01).

2. Customs and Excise Duty Concessions:

  • duty free importation of building materials and articles of tourism equipment to be used exclusively in connection with the tourism project (Restricted to items not manufactured or readily available in Trinidad and Tobago.);
  • a reduced rate of Customs Duty (10%) for the importation of a vehicle for exclusive use in the transportation of guests/visitors.

Tourism development incentives are available to both local and international investors whose proposed tourism project meets all of the approved criteria and guidelines as set out by the Act.
Criteria for Applicant seeking to develop Accommodation/ Ancillary Facilities:

  • Completed FORM A - Application for Approval of a Tourism Project;
  • Be registered with the Corporation or the Tobago House of Assembly (THA);
  • As far as possible, engage the human resources of Trinidad and Tobago or a CARICOM Member State;
  • Show linkages to the agricultural, construction and furniture industries and other manufactured goods and services in Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Have a Minimum Capital Expenditure as outlined in Schedule 9 (in relation to international investors only);
  • Be constructed or undertaken primarily for use in the tourism industry;
  • Be available on a continuing basis for use in the promotion of Trinidad and Tobago as a tourist destination;
  • Provide a copy of its the Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) from the Environmental Management Authority (EMA);
  • Provide Outline Planning Approval from the Town and Country Planning Division.
Criteria for Applicants seeking to Import a motor vehicle for Tourism Transport Services:
  • Completed FORM A - Application for Approval of a Tourism Project;
  • Copy of valid Drivers’ Permit and Taxi Badge;
  • Evidence of registration with a Taxi Association / Co-Operative / Member of a Tourism Industry Association;
  • Pro Forma Invoice for vehicle with the cost and details:
    - Details specifying: Model, Cubic Capacity Rating (cc), Cost Insurance, Freight (CIF) value, Age of vehicle/Year of manufacture, Chassis Number, Seating capacity;;
  • Export Certificate/ Certificate of Title (as relevant);
  • New Car Dealer to provide a copy of the Customs & Excise Form eC82;
  • Local Costs (as relevant) specifying: [Dealer Fee, Broker Fee, Shipping Release, Bureau of Standards, Cover Note Demonstration Plate), Licensing & Insurance, Other cost];
  • Photographs of Motor Vehicle;
  • Documentation showing TTConnect ID Number;
  • As far as possible, engage the human resources of Trinidad and Tobago or a CARICOM Member State;
  • Signed Declaration Form;
  • PTSC Approval (for hiring vehicle with seating capacity for more than 8 passengers);
  • Tourism Transport/ Taxi Services Training Certificates; and
  • Endorsement from the THA for Tobago applications.

The Act provides for tourism development incentives to be granted to various tourism projects with the aim of stimulating investment into the tourism sector, towards its sustainable development. The type of tourism projects which may be granted incentives include:

  1. Tourism Accommodation Projects

    - Integrated resort development (at least 200 rooms minimum)
    - Hotels (business, conference and leisure)
    - Campsites, dive and eco-lodges (for the development of eco-tourism)
    - Guest houses.

  2. Tourism Ancillary Projects

    - Marinas & Boatyards
    - Dive Operations & Water sports
    - Charter Boats & Cruise Activities
    - Tour operations - land, sea and air
    - Recreational Space & Theme Parks
    - Cultural Centres, Film Making & Special Events
    - Golf courses that are open for public use
    - Transportation services

    Note: Tourism Ancillary Facilities and Services include projects that provide support for, and exist for, the sole purpose of providing entertainment and attractions for use by tourists.

  3. Tourism Infrastructure Projects

    - Dive Recompression/ Hyperbaric Chamber
    - Heliports, Seaports and Airports
    - Public Utilities – Water, Electricity and Sewage Treatment Plants
    - Roads, Irrigation and Communications
    - Ecological and environmental Maintenance
    - Land Clearing and Cleaning

In order to be considered for the grant of tourism development incentives under the TDA, all Applicants are required to apply for Interim Approval of their proposed tourism project via the requisite application form (FORM A), as outlined in the following steps:

Application for Interim Approval

  1. All applicants must complete and submit an Application Form for Approval of a Tourism Investment Project (FORM A) and supporting documentation to Tourism Trinidad Limited. Click Here to access FORM A.

  2. Upon receipt of the FORM A, the TTL may request any further information or documentation relevant to the Application or Proposed Project in accordance with Sections 10 and 12 of the TDA.

  3. Applications are then evaluated by the TTL or the THA with respect to Applications in Tobago, in accordance with the approved criteria and guidelines set out by the TDA and recommendations are made to the Minister of Tourism, within 30 days after receipt of the completed application form.

  4. Thereafter, Cabinet’s agreement is sought for the granting of incentives as recommended by TTL or THA in respect of the proposed project.

  5. Where the Minister of Tourism is satisfied that the tourism project would assist the tourism industry and is in the public interest, he may then grant to the owner/ operator of the project an Interim Approval/ Additional Interim Approval and/or Certificate of Estimated Capital Expenditure of a Tourism Project pursuant to sections 13, 15 and 19 (FORM B), within 45 days of receipt of such recommendations or such further time as he may think fit.

Notes:

  • Application Forms are only considered ‘complete’ after receipt of all information and documents as may be requested by TTL or the THA.
  • Applicants wishing to import building material and articles of tourism equipment for exclusive use within the tourism project must complete and submit an Application for a Permit under Section 22 of the TDA (FORM C) (click here to access FORM C) along with the list of building material and articles of tourism equipment they wish to import, in the approved template to TTL or the THA with respect to Applications in Tobago. Click Here to access the List of Items Template.
  • Applicants may submit their Application for a Permit (FORM C) along with the List of Items concurrently with their FORM A, during the application for Interim Approval process.
  • Tax Benefits are granted only upon Final Approval of the project as an Approved Tourism Project.
 

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