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Turks and Caicos holidays petition rollback of UK air tax

Putting further pressure on the British government to lower the recently increased APD taxes on long-haul travel, which especially affect the Caribbean holidays industry, the leader of Turks and Caicos' PDM party has met with Governor Gordon Wetherell

Turks and Caicos holidays petition rollback of UK air tax

The leader of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), Douglas Parnell has met with Governor Gordon Wetherell and provided him with a letter stating his party’s call for a repeal of the increased air passenger duty (APD) being imposed on air travellers departing the UK for holidays in Turks and Caicos and other locations in the Caribbean holidays market.

The British government is under pressure from former and current British overseas territories in the Caribbean to drop the tax increase, which will holidays in Caribbean for UK travellers. A 30-page comprehensive report disputing the tax was recently forwarded by Caribbean tourism ministers to the UK Treasury.

Wetherell left Saturday for London to participate in the annual Overseas Territories Consultative Council. The TCI governor will also be meeting with the recently appointed Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) minister with responsibility for the overseas territories, Henry Bellingham.

A new Turks and Caicos airport, when completed, could serve as a hub for the entire Caribbean holidays market because of its new facility to accommodate jumbo jets. TCI will be the only British Overseas Territory in the region able to accommodate jumbos and, due to TCI's British status, would offer eased entry clearance for several of the eastern hemisphere countries

Currently, passengers travelling to the TCI from the UK must fly first to New York or Miami, where they must clear US immigration, then change planes. The previous system of “in transit” for passengers with onward foreign destinations no longer exists in the USA.

The APD to New York and other North American destinations is much lower. Unless the new higher tax on Caribbean flights is reversed, tourism prospects for the Turks and Caicos holidays market and other regional locations could be stalled. In his letter, Parnell said, “Keep in mind that it has been the dream of the PDM to make TCI a hub for the region.”

Parnell also mentioned this could be a key element for rebuilding TCI's economy, which is in shambles. The PDM leader also reported in his letter his meetings with Virgin Atlantic Airways and British Airways during his most recent trip to the UK in January. “They expressed strong sympathy for our position,” Parnell said.

Parnell went on to say, “Not enforcing this tax for the overseas territories would bode well for improving relationships with the new coalition government... this is not only the position of our party and I venture to say the entire country.”

Concluding, Parnell remarked that repealing the tax would have little effect on the British economy but will improve TCI chances for a quicker economic recovery, eliminating the dependence of TCI on Britain for periodic financial bailouts.

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