Meyers pleased that UK has delayed implementation of Air Passenger Duty


PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Honourable Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications Franklin Meyers, is pleased that UK authorities have frozen the Government’s Air Passenger Duty (APD) until April 2012.

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Passengers travelling to Africa and the Caribbean will not have to pay additional taxes on their tickets this year as was planned for in November.

The travel industry welcomed the change as it has always been against the tax stated that it was unfair and has applied that the APD be applied per plane rather than per passenger.

Caribbean Governments have been part of the lobbying effort to as the UK Government’s APD has been sharply increased and has contributed to the decline of British tourists to the Caribbean.

The rise in November would have meant that a family of four travelling to the Caribbean would have had to pay more than 300 pounds in taxes depending on whether they would be travelling in economy or premium class.

The APD tax is applied to the cost of airline tickets originating in the UK.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has reported that the number of visitors to the region from the UK has decreased since the sharp increase in the APD.

On November 1, 2010 the APD was increased from US$77 to US$115 for economy class travellers to the Caribbean; and from US$154 to US$291 for premium economy, business and first-class passengers.

Regional leaders also pointed out that another increase in the duty would have also denied thousands of persons from the Caribbean who reside in the UK to visit their loved ones in times of distress and need.

Another area of concern is the banding scheme. The band system puts the Caribbean and some African countries in Band "C" while others such as the United States are in Band "B". This made it more expensive to travel to Jamaica or Barbados than it was parts of the United States such as Hawaii.

"Caribbean countries have had it difficult, especially seeing the financial-economic crisis that the global community of nations have been confronting for the past three-years.

"Caribbean island nations have been severely impacted by the global crisis and the ADP is only negatively affecting the region while developed countries should be looking at ways and means to promote trade to the islands and better the quality of life for people of the Caribbean region," Minister of Economic Affairs Meyers said on Wednesday.