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Cambridge Beaches granted tax breaks for redevelopment

Rooms for improvement: renovation work has started at the Cambridge Beaches resort (File photograph)

An order granting a resort tax breaks for redevelopment over the next ten years was rubber-stamped in the Senate yesterday.

Under the Tourism Investment Cambridge Beaches Resort and Spa Order, the new owners of the historic west end facility will not have to pay customs duty on building materials, fixtures and fittings needed for the renovations.

Cambridge Beaches Holdings Ltd, which purchased the property last year, will also be exempt from paying hotel occupancy tax, land tax and the employer’s share of payroll tax for ten years, which is the length permitted under the current law for refurbishments of existing hotels where the expenditures are worth more than half of the appraised value of the property.

The order, which was approved by MPs in the House of Assembly two weeks ago, was presented in the Upper House by Senator Owen Darrell, the Junior Minister for the Cabinet Office.

Mr Darrell said: “The purpose of bringing this order to the Senate is to enable the grant of tax relief to the developers investing in the tourism product, which is in the national economic interest of Bermuda.

“A key element of success in business is investment in the product to ensure it is always fresh and serves to meet the demands of the customers that businesses aim to serve.

“In the hospitality business this is no different. Destinations, hotels and attractions that seek to trade only on reputation can often lose sight of their edge, proving to be more of what they were than what they need to be.

“Success in this aggressive tourism market place demands that every affiliated tourism business consistently stays on the cutting edge. The order before senators today represents that kind of investment.”

Mr Darrell said that some upgrades to the resort had already been completed but more extensive renovations to cottages, tennis courts, restaurants and swimming pools were in the pipeline.

He added that the development will provide job opportunities for Bermudians looking to work in the tourism industry.

One Bermuda Alliance senator Douglas De Couto said the Opposition supported the order but warned that the value of concessions need to be in line with the benefits provided to the country.

He also questioned why the concessions were granted for the next ten years when, under the original 2017 Investment Act, properties undergoing renovations were entitled to concessions for just five years.

Mr Darrell replied: “The Act says it will be within three years for completion. The order is vetted by the Tourism Regulatory Unit and the BDA and the Ministry of Finance as well as chambers to ensure that it meets the criteria of the Act.”

Independent senator Michelle Simmons applauded the move, saying: “I fully support this Bill because I think it will bring welcome tax relief to a property that is trying to upgrade itself and make itself more attractive to our visitors.

“We know Cambridge Beaches has a really good reputation in the local community and internationally and this upgrade will spark even more interest.”

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Published July 21, 2022 at 7:45 am (Updated July 21, 2022 at 7:44 am)

Cambridge Beaches granted tax breaks for redevelopment

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