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Bahamas holidays manage to dodge APD bullet

  • 07-Jul-11 18:02
  • Bahamas
  • Caribbean News Digital

Seemingly unaffected by the whole APD ordeal that is creating so much havoc in the Caribbean holidays sector, Bahamas holidays seem to be oblivious to the rest of the Caribbean's plight as they reported more European visitors in the first quarter of 2011.

Bahamas holidays manage to dodge APD bullet

It appears as though the Bahamas hasn't been suffering the severe pinching effects that the hefty APD charge has had on other Caribbean destinations. Director General for Tourism in the Bahamas, David Johnson told Guardian Business last Sunday 3rd July that the island's tourism sector seems to be going from strength to strength as more travellers headed to Bahamas holidays during the first half of the year.

According to Johnson, Bahamas holidays haven't suffered the negative impact the APD tax has had most other Caribbean countries and airlines, and this is mainly due to increasing passenger numbers who travel to Bahamas from Europe. In what seems to be a contradictory surge in visitor numbers compared to declining figures from most other Caribbean holiday destinations, The Bahamas have managed to entice more tourists to come to its tropical shores, despite the APD charge, which doesn't appear to have had an adverse effect on Bahamaian tourism.

"The effects of the Air Passenger Duty haven’t had a significant impact on us, because visitors arriving by air from the United Kingdom (U.K.) aren’t a major part of our business,” Johnson said. “The non-stop flight we have from the U.K. usually consists of travellers who reside in The Bahamas or business travellers from the country.”

His comments came after several news outlets reported that the ever-increasing Air Passenger Duty charge caused airlines and airports in the UK to suffer major losses, with suggestions reportedly being made to scrap the duty entirely. It’s possible that the APD could increase every year up to 2016.

Passengers going on holidays to the Bahamas or enjoying Caribbean holidays in any other destination already pay up to £156 in taxes. The APD is divided into four different ‘bands’, which groups different countries and offers different rates in relation to a country’s distance from the UK.

The Bahamas islands along with other Caribbean countries initially lobbied with airline bosses and governments last September asking to be placed in the same band as the U.S. which has APD fees up to 25 per cent lower than the Caribbean.

With visitors from the UK only representing 6 per cent of the tourists that come to the Bahamas on Caribbean holidays, the potential losses that have come due to a more expensive European route is being made up in the additional airlift being brought in to the country, according to Johnson.

In this instance he was referring to Vision Airlines, a carrier that will operate five non-stop flights from the U.S. to Grand Bahama, in a move that is expected to bring 100,000 passengers annually, and Copa Airlines which provides non-stop flights to Panama.

“What we are doing with the new airlines that are coming on board will continue to grow our airlift and visitors,” Johnson added. “We have Vision Airlines coming on board, opening up new routes and we have Copa Airlines operating flights to Panama, opening up a new market for us. We would like to keep our UK market, but the bigger picture is to keep growing.”

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