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Changes to British Air Passenger Duty could boost Caribbean tourism

Changes to the controversial British Air Passenger Duty (APD) next May could mean cheaper travel for families and an increase in visitors to the Caribbean according to Antigua and Barbuda tourism officials. The British government recently announced it was scrapping the tax for children under 16 and reducing APD on fares to the region.

Changes to British Air Passenger Duty could boost Caribbean tourism

Travel to the Caribbean could be cheaper from next May after the British government announced changes to the controversial British Air Passenger Duty (APD).

The decision to remove APD for children has been welcomed by Caribbean tourism officials including Antigua and Barbuda’s minister for tourism, Asot Michael.

Michael said:

"It will reduce the costs for families travelling to Antigua and Barbuda on holiday and will boost tourism from the UK"

There will be no APD for children under the age of 12 travelling in economy class from 15 May 2015, and the tax will also be removed for passengers under 16 years old from May 2016. APD was originally introduced 20 years ago and the cost has risen every year for the last six years, and by up to 160% since its inception.

The Antiguan tourism minister pointed out that the banding of Caribbean countries with competitive destinations much further from London places the region at a disadvantage. He said that, along with other Caribbean tourism authorities, Antigua and Barbuda will continue to urge the British government to drop APD. Michael all said:

"It is in the interests of the British tourist industry as much as the tourism industry in the Caribbean for the APD to be abolished altogether since it adds a prohibitive cost to travellers who could be spending more on their holidays."

But more changes are on the horizon. In April 2015, the current four-tier APD system will be simplified into two bands, reducing APD on fares to the Caribbean to the same rate as to the USA.

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Airline Association, Bernard Ho, told the Antigua Observer that the changes will mean cheaper travel for families visiting the island:

“If you consider a family of four paying about 80 pounds, suddenly you no longer have to pay for the two children and you are going to be paying 40 pounds, which is automatically a good saving on a holiday.”

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