The long-stay visitor programme known as the Welcome Stamp Programme will soon be supported by new legislation to prolong its existence.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, made this disclosure while addressing a ‘State of the Industry’ media briefing [recently] at the Hilton Barbados Resort.
Senator Cummins revealed that legislation was debated in the House of Assembly two to three weeks ago, and on July 21, she would take the lead in the Senate in the debate on the Remote Employment Bill.
“Under the new legislation … we will have a rebate for those persons who are already here, which allows them to have a renewal at a discounted cost, and new welcome stampers will have new costings at approximately $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for families,” she disclosed.
She explained that the programme had been beneficial to the Barbados economy, noting that many of the persons who are here under the programme are “renting houses, renting cars, getting seamstresses, importing items, and contributing to the economy well beyond the actual normal spend of a short stay visitor”.
Since its launch in July 2020, the programme has seen to date almost 5,000 global citizens on island, who have opted to live and work from Barbados. This figure includes 2,819 approved applicants, with 862 spouses and 1,128 dependents.
The Tourism Minister explained that the 2,819 approved applicants came from 109 countries, with the top five countries for applicants being, the United States – 34 per cent; the United Kingdom – 24 per cent; Canada – 12 per cent; Nigeria – eight per cent; and Ireland – two per cent.
“[These numbers do not show] the number of persons from non-traditional markets, who never visited Barbados before, but saw the visibility of the welcome stamp on social media, on the news, on the website and made a decision that they were coming from Spain, or from Italy or from Cuba, and they were coming to Barbados for the first time. And they were not just coming to experience it for a few days, they picked up their lives, their families and their children and came to Barbados to stay for a year. That tells us a little bit of who we are as a Barbados and the value of the brand,” she maintained.
She added that Government hoped to convert one in every five tourists or two in every five tourists into investors in Barbados, which would “create those legs between international business and investment in tourism”.