Big guns needed for APD battle

Patricia Affonso-Dass (File photo)

It’s time to bring in the big guns to fight the battle against Britain’s Air Passenger Duty.

While lauding the efforts of regional ministers of tourism, Caribbean Tourism Organisation and Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association President, Patricia Affonso-Dass, wants Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and other Caribbean government heads to get involved.

This follows the British government’s decision to increased the levy by 2.5 per cent from April next year.

Reporting to BHTA members attending their fourth quarterly meeting this morning, the official said the fact the APD net had been widened and would now include private planes should also concern Barbados.

“Both the CTO and the CHTA have been stalwarts in lobbying the British Government for some five years now trying to ensure that the travel industry to the Caribbean is not discriminated against and to appeal to the UK government to re-look at the bands and the levels of taxation,” the hotelier said.

“To date there has been very little success, however this issue needs to be taken to the highest level possible and all of the heads of state of the Caribbean should make this issue a number one priority before it destroys the livelihood of many thousands of tourism workers, especially in the Eastern Caribbean where the British market is so very important.” Affonso-Dass said the APD continued to be a major concern because “it is certainly affecting the arrivals from our number one source market — the UK”.

“This concern was made more acute on December 5 when George Osborne, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that the tax will rise again. He confirmed a 2.5 per cent APD increase that will come into play next year. This increase will once again affect long-haul flyers and for the first time passengers who use private jets,” she stated.

“The APD rate for economy class travellers on short-haul flights (of fewer than 2,000 miles) will be unchanged at 13 per person.

From April 2013 onwards, the charge to persons travelling on airlines will go up by 2 per passenger on all flights that fall into Bands B, C and D of the tax’s four categories (flights of over 2,000, 4,000 and 6,000 miles respectively).

“For private jets, which were previously exempt from APD, passengers flying on aircraft of 18 seats or fewer will have to pay between 52 and 376 extra, depending on the length of their journey.” (SC)

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