President Faure signs Tourism Development Act 2019 • ‘A major milestone for effective development of this important industry,’ says Minister Dogley |23 August 2019
The signing yesterday by President Danny Faure of the Tourism Development Act 2019 will for the first time, since tourism began, ensure all tourism related activities are governed by a legal instrument, Minister Didier Dogley has said.
Speaking yesterday at State House during the ceremony in which President Faure gave his assent to the Act, the minister responsible for tourism said for decades the tourism industry did not have a comprehensive legislative framework. National policies provided guidance to investors, tourism operators and indirectly acted as legal instruments in regulating tourism activities.
“Today with major shifts in the socio-economic situation in the country, it has become necessary to have a comprehensive legislative framework for this sector,” Minister Dogley stated.
He went on to add that the objective is not to restrict, limit and control the tourism industry but as its name imply, to create an enabling environment to facilitate the development of the sector by providing clear guidance and setting clear parameters for all those involved in or intend to join the industry. As a framework act, it is a comprehensive legal instrument that provides simplicity and clarity, replacing the past practices of having an otherwise complex set of pieces of legislation.
The Tourism Development Act comprises eight parts that deal with a variety of aspects, namely, the development and implementation of policies; the development and implementation of a hotel classification system; provides for an appeals board for the classification programme; covers compliance, among others.
Minister Dogley noted that the enabling sections of special interest of the Act are part 4, 5, 6 and 7. Part 4 allows the ministry to develop and implement policies. The existing policies reflected in the Act cover accommodation establishment, boat charters, dive centres, dive operators, restaurants, tour guides, tour operators, travel agents, vertical integration, watersports and yacht charters.
In part 5, it makes provision for the development and implementation of a hotel grading programme.
“An established grading system allows discerning visitors to know any hotel’s standard in advance and what to expect of the product offering before making a purchase,” Minister Dogley stated.
With regard to compliance he explained that it refers to the set minimum requirements that all accommodation establishments and tourism enterprises must meet in order to obtain a license. These include disaster preparedness and risk management procedures and processes, provision for submission of timely information as and when required by the ministry, appropriate display of grades issues and actions to be taken where operators falsely advertise a grade.
As to the formulation of the new Act, Minister Dogley pointed out that it has been a long and interesting journey which has involved consultation with the Attorney General’s Office, relevant government agencies, the private sector, the general public, employees of the tourism department and the National Assembly all of whom he has recognised and thanked for their contributions.