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Minister Bartlett Calls for Caribbean Tourism Sector to Join APD Debate

Edmund Bartlett, the Minister of Tourism in Jamaica, is urging tourism companies and organisations in the Caribbean to join in on the debate that could see changes made to the APD tax which increases the costs for travellers taking Caribbean holidays.

Minister Bartlett Calls for Caribbean Tourism Sector to Join APD Debate

The Minister of Tourism for Jamaica, Edmund Bartlett, is calling on to all travel and tourism companies that operate in the Caribbean to rally around and support the debate that urges the reversal or changes in Air Passenger Duty (APD).

At present, the United Kingdom has the highest rate of APD tax which is added to the cost of Caribbean holidays when travellers depart from UK airports.

 Dollar Origami Jet IV 3
Image by: morpheology, on Flickr

While addressing the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s 19th General Assembly in South Korea last week, Mr Bartlett said: “The debate should continue in light of the fact that the UK Government is facing growing opposition in Parliament over plans to increase the rate of APD.”

He urged companies that specialise in the Caribbean holidays sector to support the debate. He said: “It is critical for tourism interests in the Caribbean to remain involved in this debate. It is important for us to speak with one voice on this urgent matter and to collaborate with our colleagues so as to resolve this dilemma. It is also necessary for us to collaborate with our colleagues in the private sector and the Diaspora in the UK to try and eliminate this predicament.

“It is also very important that the Caribbean retains the continued support of the UNWTO in resolving this urgent issue in a fair and impartial manner.”

APD was introduced by the British Government in 1994 and since then government has increased the tax by an incredible 2,600 per cent which has had an impact on the number of travellers who book holidays to the Caribbean.

Image by: *michael sweet*, on Flickr

The tax is charged according to how far away the capital of a country is from the United Kingdom. Despite Florida and Hawaii being located further from the UK, the country’s capital city of New York is closer than many Caribbean capital cities, so passengers travelling to the United States, regardless of the city or estate are charged less.

British Airways announced last month that they would be cutting the number of Caribbean flights it offers they offer because of the excessive APD tax, and many businesses in the region are also struggling, especially Caribbean hotels and resorts as travellers opt for cheaper holiday destinations such as Florida.

Mr Bartlett concluded: “We in the Caribbean should support the proposal suggested by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) for a less discriminatory approach to the computation of the tax that is imposed. We have recommended that the band arrangement be adjusted to establish only two bands for long and short haul respectively in addition to a rate adjustment. This we believe would provide an alternative revenue neutral solution which is more closely aligned to actual carbon emissions as opposed to the arbitrary classifications based on bands which now exist.”

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