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New strategies outlined to help Caribbean holidays deal with the British travel tax

With the new rise in British travel tax already in place, members of the Caribbean holiday industry met in order to look for ways to deal with this tax increase that is potentially damaging the Caribbean holidays market.

New strategies outlined to help Caribbean holidays deal with the British travel tax

Being now forced to face the new tax rise imposed by the British government on long-haul travel, the Barbados based Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) has proposed reforming the controversial air passenger duty (APD) imposed by Britain by charging one rate for flights within Europe and another for long haul journeys.

Before 1st November 2010, each economy class traveller going on Caribbean holidays paid £50 pounds sterling (US$77) in APD, but the tax this November was increased to £75 (US$115) -- the second increase in as many years. The levy for premium economy, business and first class passengers rose from £100 (US$154) to £150 (US$291) signalling a huge 50% increase.

The Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) reported that the CTO in a statement said a detailed analysis of how the tax is affecting Caribbean economies and recommendations for change had been presented to the British government by CTO Chairman, Richard Skerritt, who is also Minister of Tourism of St Kitts andNevis.

The APD report, “The Impact of AIr Passenger Duty and Possible Alternatives for the Caribbean," has been compiled by the CTO at the request of the British Treasury as a follow up to a delegation of six Caribbean tourism ministers who visited London in September.

Ministers representing Antigua and Barbuda holidays, Barbados holidays, Grenada holidays, Jamaica holidays, St Kitts and Nevis holidays, and St Lucia holidays met with British ministers at that time to protest against the tax that has been described as "a disgrace" by British Airways chairman Willie Walsh.

The report highlights the negative impact on Caribbean tourism and proposes a new approach to the banding structure, which would divide the world into two zones, creating a more equitable relationship between the distance travelled and the taxation of emissions.

"The APD tax is clearly a barrier to travel and tourism and we are not happy about any aspect of it. However, during our visit in September the British government asked us to provide evidence of the impact of this tax on our tourism and to suggest an alternative approach, which would be revenue neutral,” said Skerritt.

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