Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
TORONTO — Sandals Resorts says its guests are its top priority and asserts that it would never unlawfully charge its guests taxes, as alleged in a new class action lawsuit.
Filed this week in Florida, the suit charges that several Sandals and Beaches Resorts in the Caribbean misdirected all or a portion of government accommodation tax fees charged to guests back into the company.
Miami-based Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. says it is “aggressively pursuing litigation”. So far the suit is worth US$5 million.
Sandals immediately answered back with this statement: “Our customers are our top priority and under no circumstances would we exploit their faith in us.
“Our valued guests have never been unlawfully charged for taxes and allegations to the contrary are downright false.
“Not only do we conduct our business with pricing transparency, we meet all of our tax obligations in each of the islands where we call home.
“We take great pride in being the gold standard in the islands where we operate and have spent close to four decades providing guests with the most comprehensive vacation experience bar none. We will of course vigorously defend against these baseless allegations.”
Beaches Turks & Caicos is one of several resorts mentioned in the suit. Earlier this year came word that SRI was going to close Beaches Turks & Caicos indefinitely in 2021, stemming from a dispute with that island’s government. At that time the Premier of Turks and Caicos Islands, Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, said, “just to be clear, it has not been a matter of Beaches avoiding taxes.”
As reported by Travelweek on May 15, while Beaches Turks & Caicos will go ahead with plans to shut down Sept. 3 – Oct. 15, 2019 for light maintenance and renovations, the planned closures in 2020 and 2021 have been scrapped.
General Manager, Jamie McAnally, confirmed the news to Travelweek: “There were conversations that needed to be had and I think both parties agreed that it’s in everyone’s best interest to stay open. It definitely speaks to our commitment to staying on longer.”