The Lower House of Parliament today passed a bill making it mandatory for all tourism service providers to obtain a license to operate.
The Tourism Licensing and Classification Bill was tabled in parliament by Tourism Minister, Charles Fernandez.
He said the bill will “seek to professionalize the tourism industry by ensuring the certification of selected enterprises and by extension their employees”.
A Tourism Industry Licensing Committee will be created to issue the necessary licenses.
Service providers who fail to obtain a license or comply with the provisions of the license will be liable to fines and imprisonment.
The bill also provides provisions for the development of standards governing the industry.
“Tourism inspectors will be checking to ensure that industry practitioners are delivering the required level of service”, the Minister noted.
According to the Minister, the new regulated system will also enable the government to clamp down on tax avoidance.
“All of the licensees will fall into that net so that apart from the fact that they’re all held to a standard they will also fall into the net where everybody now his/her fair share”, he said.