The Bahamas government has reported that the tax free shopping scheme for visiting tourists that it implemented last August is now in use by more than 60% of eligible Bahamian merchants. The system was launched by Tax Free Shopping provider, Global Blue, in partnership with the Value Added Tax (VAT) and Customs Departments.
Global Blue’s system introduces a standardized electronic platform to the tax refund process, which means that retailers can sell a wide range of products to tourists, minus VAT. The purchases are recorded in standard format by retailers and then monitored electronically by the Customs Department.
“Following the introduction of VAT, we needed to ensure that The Bahamas continued to be seen as a competitive shopping destination,” said Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis.
“I’m pleased to say that the new system has made tax free shopping easy and simple for retailers and the Customs Department and, therefore, more available and accessible for tourists.”
Senior Vice President, New Markets and Public Affairs at Global Blue, Jorge Casal, said the electronic system had performed extremely well since its launch and the company would be doubling its current investment in marketing and promotion over the coming year to further support the development of the scheme.
Diamonds International Bahamas Head of Operation, Ido Elkarat, was quoted in the press announcement, saying: “We’ve been really happy with the support provided by Global Blue in establishing the new system in all five of our stores. It’s running very smoothly now and we are already seeing the benefit of offering Tax Free Shopping to tourists.”
In addition to operating the Tax Free Shopping system, Global Blue supports local Bahamian merchants with additional services, including training and the promotion of The Bahamas as a Tax Free Shopping destination across its media platform, SHOP.