Tourism August 30, 2023 | 11:42 am

David Llibre: stopping incentives means stopping tourism growth

Santo Domingo.- David Llibre, the President of the Association of Hotels and Tourism of the Dominican Republic (Asonahores), highlighted the significance of Law 158-01 for the Promotion of Tourism Development as a vital tool to ensure the sustained growth of the tourism sector.

Llibre visited Diario Libre to discuss the upcoming XXXV Asonahores Trade Exhibition, where he explained that hotels have a continually decreasing lifespan due to tourists’ demand for new experiences. This necessitates ongoing investments to refresh and update infrastructure, and he emphasized that discontinuing the incentive law in the context of future tax reforms could impede the growth of the hotel sector.

Llibre voiced his belief that there’s room for further expansion in the tourism sector, saying, “To say that the sector has already reached where it had to go… would be not having a long-term vision of what we could still expect for the tourism sector. I am one of those who thinks that if we can celebrate 10 million tourists, why can’t we celebrate 15 million and so much more?”

He noted that investors with the means to invest $200 million in a hotel also have the freedom to choose the destination for their investment, and having this attribute in the Dominican Republic is a definite draw for foreign capital.

Regarding the diversification of the hotel offer, Llibre explained that the development of destinations like Cabo Rojo and Miches will add more than 6,000 rooms to hotel capacity between 2024 and 2025. However, this expansion would necessitate specialized human resources, especially in areas like culinary and housekeeping, and Asonahores is working with the National Institute for Professional Technical Training (Infotep) for personnel training.

On the topic of taxes, Llibre clarified that hotels pay an 18% tax on room rates and guest stays, as well as on supplies purchased for the properties. He highlighted that there is a misconception that the sector doesn’t pay taxes, but these payments are made through these avenues.

Llibre emphasized the need for proper regulation of digital platforms like Airbnb at both administrative and tax levels. He noted that over 100,000 short-term rental rooms exist nationwide, necessitating a record of properties promoted for tourism, similar to hotel standards, including property insurance, third-party insurance, necessary permits, and registration of guests with identification.

Asonahores is preparing to host the XXXV Asonahores Commercial Exhibition from September 6 to 8 at Blue Mall, Punta Cana, bringing together over 160 companies in the hotel sector’s value chain to showcase their products. The event is expected to attract 20,000 visitors and feature product launches and discussions relevant to the hotel and tourism sector.

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August 30, 2023 9:56 pm

bla bla bla, a tourist industry with a lack of good infrastructure outside the hotel is on its way to collapse, lack of professional drivers who respect road safety. The government doesn’t invest enough back in the industry, just wants benefits for their pocket. How does it come that traffic lights like in Bavaro are not maintained, dangerous tours like buggy tours with, a start/stop switch in the back of the vehicle are permitted, in case of emergency, the driver has no possibility to switch off the engine, homemade seatbelts. Safety for tourists, who cares???, Thanks to corrupt inspectors and administration people who just see dollar signs in the eyes of a tourist, but don’t care about service

Paul Tierney
August 31, 2023 11:07 am

David Llibre’s statement is self-serving because Asonahores, the hotels and resorts, earn millions upon millions of profits for an industry indirectly subsidized by tax breaks. Breaks that include waivers of taxes for materials and products produced by the owner’s countries and/or industries, then imported into the RD for their hotels and resorts. There are similar materials and products produced in the RD that could be purchased to provide jobs for Dominicans and bring tax revenue into the national treasury. There is plenty of growth not needing incentives.