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Please don't kill the Caribbean tourism industry

The Director General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has revealed his disappointment over the way Caribbean governments have "practically killed the tourism industry" with unfair and excessive taxes applied to Caribbean Holidays.

Please don't kill the Caribbean tourism industry

Alec Sanguinetti, the Director General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has expressed his disappointment that the increasing taxes have "practically killed the tourism industry”.

Sanguinetti spoke of his concerns during the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC) at the Iberostar Hotel and Resort in Montego Bay in Jamaica, saying that Caribbean governments were to blame and that “we have repeatedly said that Government must not kill the golden goose, but the goose is already half dead. There is not much more to kill".

He added: “We (the industry) have become the bullseye for taxation by governments."

Sanguinetti had repeatedly asked governments to put a hold on any further taxes on Caribbean holidays and the tourism sector as the taxation was making the industry unprofitable. Tourism is responsible for 2.8 per cent of the Caribbean’s gross domestic product (GDP) and the region heavily relies on the revenue acquired from international tourist arrivals.

Though foreign travellers are continuing to take St Lucia, Bahamas, Barbados, and Jamaica holidays and trips to many more of the region’s tropical islands, the increasing taxes are making it difficult for any profits to be made.

Earlier this year, Britain’s Finance Minister delivered his budget where he addressed the Airport Passenger Duty (APD) tax and announced that the British Government would be freezing APD for 12 months.

Despite the freeze being good news for travellers taking Caribbean holidays over the next year, officials believe that the tax will be increased even more next year to make up for the loss. Sanguinetti added that the lack of flights to the region was still a significant concern for the industry, and said: “We are recovering from the unstable global crisis and tourism must be given key, top priority.”

Efforts are being made to encourage travellers to book holidays in the Caribbean and the region is seeing the development of new hotels and holiday resorts, but unless the taxation issues are addressed, the region’s future could be trouble.

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