by Des Ryan
Awkward red tape always makes visiting a country less likely for the cruising sailor. Some nations make it so difficult intentionally that no cruising sailor visits - think of Saudi Arabia or Algeria. Others are simply ignorant of the value of visiting yachts. St Lucia in the Caribbean could be used as a model by all yachties who want to encourage their own country to make visiting easier:
Sailing in St Lucia - blissful, but also easier to enter the country
The St. Lucia Tourist Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation has announced that all new revised policies have been approved by its government to help stimulate growth and development in St. Lucia’s yachting sector. Several proposals presented by Yachting Director Cuthbert Didier have been sanctioned and will facilitate clearing in and out of the country, as well as an ease on taxation and many other added benefits to encourage cruising in its waters.
These changes will greatly improve and support yachting for private and charter yachts wishing to cruise St. Lucian waters as well as those wishing to conduct yachting business in the country. Some of the changes include the following:
Yachtsmen will now be permitted to stay in St. Lucia waters for 6 months.
Yachts with owners temporarily on island will be allowed to remain in the state free of duties and taxes for up to 3 years, after which they will become payable on current value.
100% waiver of import duty and tax on yachts imported into Saint Lucia.
100% waiver on income tax from operations for the first 5 years for local charter companies with a minimum of 1 captain and 3 crew members, and has a fleet of 3 or more power or sailing vessels.
Approval has been given for the formation of a Yachting Committee, that falls under the purview of the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation and will incorporate all relevant institutions that function to regulate the yachting sector in St. Lucia
100% waiver of import duty and consumption tax on boat safety equipment and watercraft activity equipment, which includes sport fishing, SCUBA diving, kite surfing and other water sports, subject to verification of the Bill of Quantities by the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation for 5 years from date of cabinet conclusion
100% waiver of import duty and consumption tax on all equipment and materials imported or purchased locally for use in the establishment of infrastructure to service yachts over period of 5 years, subject to verification and approval of the Bill of Quantities by the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation.
The Government of Saint Lucia has waived the visa requirements for Russian and Australian nationals so that Russian and Australian nationals no longer require visas to enter Saint Lucia.
These great efforts by the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation and the Government of St. Lucia to foster yachting in the state will likely trickle down to other businesses in the country, leading to even further economic growth within the country. 'This crucial change benefits everyone in the yachting industry, from owners to crew, charter guests and yacht businesses as well as residents of the island itself. We have been working on implementing these changes for some time, and anticipate great results for all involved,' says Didier.
As part of ongoing support to the development and growth of yachting in St. Lucia, we applaud them on this far-reaching effort that will greatly impact the industry and serve as a model for other countries to emulate.