Final Chapter: The round peg hammered into the square hole

Just like that without fanfare on June 11th, 2018, GOA enacted the All-Inclusive Law, via a state decree. Remember it was approved by Parliament in 2016.

The law went into effect July 1st, 2018.

While the pre-legislation debate was very loud and public, the enactment received no news coverage nor did it get any public announcements.

Here is more or less what AHATA circulated to inform its membership:

Kiki ta kiko

The new law says that 40% of total “accommodation inventory” on the island is allowed to be All-Inclusive, but that the EP hotels can offer up to 20% of their room inventory, to groups for example, on an All-Inclusive basis.

The new law introduces some definitions, and all of those renting apartments and houses via AIRBNB and BOOKING.COM, had better pay attention:

Hotel: Total sleeping capacity of 10 or more, renting accommodation for less than 90 days, read short-term.

(I guess 90 days is the cut off between long-term and short-term rentals)

Lodging:  Total sleeping capacity up to 9 persons, renting accommodation for less than 90 days, read short-term. 

All-Inclusive: In addition to rental of accommodations, unlimited meals and (at least non-alcoholic) drinks can be consumed, against prepayment. 

If you run a Hotel, see definition above, your liquor license is included.

AND you must apply for a lodging permit, to operate vacation rentals. This point is of interest to the general public because of permit requirements. It is also of interest to the resorts because these vacation rentals, usually EP, count towards the 60% non-all-inclusive inventory decreed by GOA. If more vacation-rentals are licensed, the All-Inclusive portion can grow.  

Basically, more paperwork: All-Inclusive hotels require a special permit, also EP hotels who desire to offer all-inclusive to their guests, up to 20%, required a permit.

The authority is at the hands of the MinHealth in combination with the MinTour, in our case in the current coalition, it is the same person, which makes him a super powerful player.

The legislation goes on and on and all I say is: GOOD LUCK, in regulating and enforcing and governing and licensing…. some more clarifications are forthcoming because it is vague where and how to apply for example for a lodging permit.

 I asked: “It is a permit (based on the licensing law) that has to be requested from the Minister of Tourism. Probably you have to file for this permit through a letter to the Minister of Tourism.

This is what I understood from the requirements.

Ruben Giel – Deloitte

Not very conclusive, but that’s all we have for now.

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August 14, 2018
Rona Coster