Barbados’ Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy expects new economic opportunities from a new fee on visiting yachts. Sealy told Barbadostoday.com that the $2,000 annual fee should provide new economic opportunities as well as jobs for the Caribbean island nation.

Earlier in the year, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler said that the current framework, which allowed visiting yachts to stay up to six months, had not worked. The yacht owners left shortly before the six-month period expired.

Sealy said that yachting industry officials had long encouraged the move away from the complicated system to the annual flat fee. “There are some Caribbean countries that rely almost entirely for their tourism industry on what come onboard yachts, and for too long we really haven’t been taking advantage of this,” Sealy told the paper.

Barbados, he added, is under-used by visiting yachts, even though it is the eastern-most island in the Caribbean and the first landfall for yachts venturing across the Atlantic.

“I describe it as an entirely new access, a new frontier for our tourism and it’s one that should be embraced,” said Sealy. “There will be economic opportunities and there will be jobs that come along with it. At this stage it is early to say where we are going but whatever we get from it is new business, is incremental business and is not replacing existing business.”