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CARICOM's Acting Secretary General Voices Concerns over UK Air Passenger Tax

The acting Secretary General of CARICOM addressed delegates of the first ever Caribbean Tourism Summit which was recently held in Brussels about the increase of the UK's Air Passenger Duty (APD) and the impact it will have on Caribbean holidays.

CARICOM's Acting Secretary General Voices Concerns over UK Air Passenger Tax

Lolita Applewhaite, the acting Secretary General of CARICOM, has outlined the organisation’s concerns over the increase of the UK’s Air Passenger Duty (APD) and the impact it is likely to have on Caribbean tourism.

Applewhaite spoke to delegates of the first ever Caribbean Tourism Summit in Brussels last Monday about the increases in aviation taxes for travellers from the UK who are taking Caribbean holidays.

“We view the APD as discriminatory against Caribbean destinations and Caribbean people living in the United Kingdom seeking to travel to the region,” she said.

The aviation taxes were described as a tax on the Caribbean by Applewhaite who stressed how important tourism is to the economy of the Caribbean, and though it might generate money for the UK, it could have a severe impact on the future of the Caribbean’s tourism sector including local businesses and Caribbean hotels.

“It is clear that even if the particular design problems that the Caribbean is seeking to have addressed in relation to the UK APD are resolved, this tax could be only the tip of the iceberg that may eventually come to include all aviation and maritime transport,” - Applewhaite stated - “Similar unilateral measures have also been introduced by other countries in Europe.”

The APD must be paid by all passengers departing from airport in the UK and in 2009/2010 it generated £1.9 billion in revenue for UK. The tax was initially introduced in 1994 as a “green tax” in a bid to decrease the impact the aviation had on the environment, however, according to the a statement from the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, there is no indication as to how this money has been applied to the cause.

In 2009, the Labour Government in the UK changed the APD’s banding system based on how far a capital of a country was from London. The further people travel, the more APD they have to pay, and this amount is doubled for a seat in a premium class.

This has already impacted the way travellers book their vacations with many travellers choosing destinations closer to home over holidays to the Caribbean with the APD costing passengers between £60 and £75.

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