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The Barbados holiday industry continues to lobby against the APD

  • 16-Aug-12 13:37
  • Barbados
  • Caribbean News Now

On Thursday 10th August 2012, the Caribbean region continued its lobbying efforts against the Air Passenger Duty (APD) with Barbados' Minster of Tourism Richard Sealy and the Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation Hugh Riley meeting with UK Member of Parliament Mark Pritchard to discuss the controversial tax which threatens to impact on the number of Britons booking Barbados holidays as well as holidays to other popular Caribbean destinations.

The Barbados holiday industry continues to lobby against the APD

The Caribbean community continues to show resoluteness in its efforts to lobby against the UK’s Air Passenger Duty. On Thursday 10th August 2012, Barbados’ Minster of Tourism Richard Sealy and the Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation Hugh Riley met with UK Member of Parliament and vice chairman of the Tourism Parliamentary Group in the House of Commons, Mark Pritchard, to discuss the controversial tax which poses a real threat to the Barbados holidays industry as well as that of other popular Caribbean holiday destinations like St Lucia and Tobago.

The CTO’s Mr Riley highlighted the current effects of the APD on the region noting, “in 2008, we had arrivals from the UK into the Caribbean of over 1.2 million. At the last count in 2011, that had fallen to... just over 700 000... We know that if you substantially increase the price of a product, you are going to substantially decrease the demand. The [APD] which now adds £81 per passenger in economy [class] and £162 per passenger in any level above economy is not an insignificant amount. That has to be affecting the demand”

Barbados Holiday Destination
Image by: IDEE_PER_VIAGGIARE, on Flickr

In a subsequent press briefing Mr Sealy was quick to underscore the reliance of the Barbadian economy on the thousands of UK visitors who book Barbados holidays each year stating “none are as reliant on the UK market as Barbados is”. With an estimate 40 per cent of long stay visitors to Barbados coming from the UK steady increases in the APD would have crippling effects for the local tourism sector, including the restaurants, local craftsmen and not to mention the hotels and the all inclusive resorts in Barbados.

Although previous lobbying efforts have led to a review of the APD by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Sealy noted, “coming out of that revision, they still went ahead with the increases, albeit delaying them... and there is due to be another increase this year, so we have to continue to keep the fight on”. While Mr Pritchard’s vow to openly back the region’s position on a need for a review of the current APD system would serve as a source of encouragement, the Caribbean tourism industry is painfully aware of closing window of opportunity with yet another increase in the APD set to take effect in November 2012- a move which could see a further reduction in the number Britons planning a sunny summer holiday in Barbados.

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