Inflated duties deterring travel
Government taxes continue to be a major factor why more people do not travel and at least one official would love to see those taxes lowered.
Acknowledging that it would not be an easy task, business development manager for the Barbados Tourism Authority London office Cedric Lynch said it might take a lot of lobbying to get some adjustments to those taxes.
Government taxes could account for as much as half the price of a ticket when travelling to or from the United Kingdom on the two major airlines ranging from anywhere between US$500 and US$1000.
Lynch said the same way officials were able to put pressure on the British authorities to lower the controversial Air Passenger Duty (APD), new rates to take effect next April, it might be the same route they will have to go in order to get governments to adjust their taxes downward.
“I was a part of an association who lobbied and we try to get all the people in the various areas to put pressure on their representatives and say ’look this thing affecting us seriously we want to go home at a certain time but it is too much tax,” he said, adding that the APD not only affected tourists but also Barbadians abroad who wanted to return home often.
“So you would have seen a downturn in numbers for Crop Over when most of the locals would come home. I mean the tickets are ridiculous. So we can only but try,” he added.
“That would be something the Ministers to Ministers in England and Barbados will have to look at. We can only but lobby and sign all the petitions you can and do it the legal way . . . that is the way we can go until we see better. The airlines are crying out that the [Government] taxes are too high. If you look at how they separate a ticket, you can see that the tax is more than the actual ticket. So they are lobbying as well. Richard Branson [founder of the Virgin Group] has been knocking on doors [and] we in the Caribbean have been knocking on doors. Everybody is feeling it a little bit,” lamented Lynch.
He said he believed that if they were persistent in their call and approached it strategically then they might just see results.
“So hopefully somebody will listen soon. And . . . you know how elections go, so with two years to go with British elections coming up, is when I think it is the time we should really go after them. If we can strategically do that then I think somebody might listen,” said Lynch, quickly pointing out that it would be difficult to get the taxes lowered since they “bring in a lot of money for the government”.
“So more or less they are not going to wave them so easily [but] we will keep fighting,” he added.