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Hotels Support NIB Increase

Hotels are in full support of an increase to the contribution rate for the National Insurance Board planned for next July, according to Robert Sands, the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association’s president.

Last week, Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis announced in a press statement that the contribution rate for NIB would rise for the first time since 2010, when it rose from 8.8 percent to 9.8 percent. He added that the increase would be accompanied by improvements to NIB’s service delivery, accountability, compliance efforts, and sustainability. However, the statement did not reveal the amount of the increase.

Mr Sands, who spoke to reporters yesterday, said: “The hotel industry supports an increase.

“We believe an investment in our social security programme is an extremely important element about the safety net of persons who have contributed to the plan for a long period of time and we would like to see it improved and not meet its demise. So, the industry absolutely supports some increase to the national insurance programme.”

 Mr Sands’ comments come as the tourism industry experiences a major boost from the opening of the new $300m cruise port in downtown Nassau.

 “We must grow tourism in all it’s different facets, cruise tourism is a substantive part of what The Bahamas is about. Land based tourism is also an important part of what tourism is about. The development of Air BnBs is another significant part of that. Together we will raise the tide and make The Bahamas, the enviable tourism destination in the region,” he said.

 Mr Sands said he expects this rise in tourism to continue through the country’s 50th Independence celebrations, with several “major events” planned at hotels next month.

 “I can tell you that certainly every hotel is making their own plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary. They have also been partnering with the government in executing a number of the government’s issues.

 “For our internal guests who are our associates, we also have major events planned at major hotels for them to also join in the celebration,” he said.

By LETRE SWEETING- Tribune Staff Reporter