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Elite Island Resorts looks to expand despite tough climate

Elite Island Resorts is looking to expand its portfolio in St. Lucia and Barbados in order to offer more luxury Caribbean holidays for travellers, despite the recent increase of taxes which may put many tourists off booking their trips.

Elite Island Resorts looks to expand despite tough climate

Elite Island Resorts is looking to acquire more properties in the Caribbean to expand its portfolio, despite concerns over rising taxes, which could deter travellers from booking their luxury Caribbean holidays.

Chairman of Elite Island Resorts, Rob Barrett, said that the company is looking to expand its portfolio with new properties offering St. Lucia holidays and Barbados holidays for holiday makers.

Barrett predicts that 2011 will be a year of "activity and changes of ownership" within the hotels and resorts industry after a slow recovery from the global economic situation. He commented that many Caribbean resorts will experience "three years of losses" and global recovery would be slow over the next 12-18 months.

Barrett also spoke of his concern about the rising taxes for travellers on luxury Caribbean holidays.

He said: "It's sad the consumer has so many taxes now, it's getting to the point where 40-50% of your holiday cost is taxes.

"I'm sure Air Passenger Duty has had an effect, and unfortunately our lobbying was unsuccessful to date. But it's hard to say what that impact is, there's no way to determine that."

Antigua is Elite's strongest holiday destination and the company owns three properties on the Caribbean island: St James's Club, Galley Bay and The Verandah.

Barratt added that Christmas was "disappointing" for the company as many travellers were unable to travel to the Caribbean because of bad weather in the UK, followed by further bad weather in the United States.

At the beginning of 2011, the Antiguan government increased its airport tax from $20 to $28. According to the Vice-President of Elite, Vernon Jeffers, many of its hotels have been offering special discounts and promotions to entice travellers which will counter the tax rise.

Jeffers added that he still hopes to see a change in the APD rises and that the Caribbean Tourism Association was still lobbying the increase.

"It is trying to go for a reversal. We hope we are being listened to, but there are currently no signs of a reversal coming soon," he said.

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