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Barbadians contemplate the impact of the UK's APD on the popularity of Barbados holidays

  • 29-Mar-12 12:20
  • Barbados
  • Travel Trade Caribbean

Tourism officials in Barbados, along with the wider population, are currently bracing themselves for the impact the heavily opposed increase in the air passenger duty (APD) tax will have on the number of travellers from the UK booking Barbados holidays.

Barbadians contemplate the impact of the UK's APD on the popularity of Barbados holidays

With the latest increase in air passenger duty (APD) tax set to hit the travel industry in April 2012, the wider population along with the local tourism officials of Barbados are currently contemplating the potential impact the tax hike will have on the number of travellers booking flights to Barbados from the UK. The APD tax applies to passengers who book Caribbean flights departing from United Kingdom airports and the latest increase will also affect the price that passengers who have booked their 2012 Caribbean holidays before the announcement of the new rates, will have to pay.

Barbados is not the only island to be affected by the increase with its peers across the Caribbean region, including other popular holiday destinations like Jamaica and the Bahamas, being similarly affected. Some locals feel that the island can no longer depend on tourism and the appeal of Barbados holidays with the APD leading to soaring airfares which most are convinced will scare away passengers from key source markets like the UK.

“This is so bad. I can’t afford to come to Barbados anymore. They are so greedy here the taxes are more than the air fares. I miss seeing the sunrise in Barbados and not being able to see my friends”one citizen said commenting on a local news article reporting on the issue.

 Barbados holidays
Image by: IDEE_PER_VIAGGIARE, on Flickr

The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) which is headquartered in Barbados and comprises of 32 member countries in addition to private sector stakeholders, has spoken out firmly against the tax in 2011 and has been lobbying in the UK for its removal or at the very least a revision of the structure.

While the CTO is yet to convince the UK government to review the APD, it now has the support of major airlines like British Airways, Easy Jet, Virgin Atlantic and Ryan Air who have all made a call for the suspension of the latest APD increase. Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are currently the two main carriers taking holidaymakers to Barbados holidays or to holidays in just about any other Caribbean destination. Both airlines have expressed deep concerns that the APD increase will have a negative impact not only on their earnings but in the UK’s efforts to rebuild the economy as well.

 Barbados holidays
Image by: IDEE_PER_VIAGGIARE, on Flickr

In addition to these key international carriers, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) have also spoken out in support of the Caribbean islands and have estimated that in the course of the next 12 months the UK government stands to gain an additional £2.8 billion in taxes from passengers. According to the WTTC, that sum pales in comparison to the £4.2 billion that could be made along with the creation of 91 000 jobs in the UK job market if the APD were to be removed.

While the sentiment coming out of Barbados may be one of resignation only time will tell if this new wave of support the CTO has gained will have any impact on the three-year-long UK air tax.

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