Cut tax, bring dive tourists

Why doesn’t the Government reduce the tax on diesel fuel to commercial operations as in the UK? (Dive tourism facing challenges, Caymanian Compass, 12 October).

This saving could be passed onto the dive tourists in the way of reduced diving costs, which would attract more divers to the island.

When divers search for holiday destinations the cost of the diving is at the top of their list followed by accommodation. By reducing operator costs we could attract more tourists to the island and we would all benefit.

In the UK fuel for commercial dive/fishing boats is supplied duty free so where regular diesel would be CI$4.30 at the pump the commercial cost would be more like CI$3.50.

There is also too much of a margin on fuel sales. Cost of fuel to CUC is nearly CI$2.75 a gallon. Why do we pay CI$4.30? That’s about a 56 per cent mark-up.

The system would be easy to police as only boats with a watersports licence would be able to buy it.

It’s all about getting more people to the island. It’s a simple numbers game. We must remember we are in competition with places like Mexico and Belize. Cayman is too expensive and needs to diversify its economy. We rely too much on the financial sector, which could all disappear at the drop of a hat if weather patterns change and people get fed up preparing for hurricanes. Don’t have all your eggs in one basket.

We have had a $4 billion injection into the economy since Hurricane Ivan which is coming to an end now. It’s back to reality time. The economy is based too much around what happens in the US. We need to look to Europe, where things in Cayman are looking cheap due to currency appreciation from the euro and pound.

Duncan Heard

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