Barbados enlists support for APD rethink

Barbados has enlisted the support of the travel industry in a bid to get the UK government to scrap Air Passenger Duty.

The island’s Prime Minister David Thompson came to the UK to lobby the government to rethink the tax, which could add as much as £400 to the cost of a family holiday to the island.

PM Thompson met with Dermot Blastland, managing director of TUI UK & Ireland, David Jessop, executive director of the Caribbean Council, Dr Barry Humphreys, chairman of the British-Caribbean Business Council, Petra Roach, director of the Barbados Tourism Authority and George Blundell Pound, acting secretary general of the Federation of Tour Operators.

Barbados’ move follows that of a number of other Caribbean countries, which have written to Gordon Brown requesting he rethink the tax.

APD is hiked on November 1 from £40 to £50 in economy cabins and from £80 to £100.

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From November 2010 it goes up again to £75 and £150.

It is widely regarded as unfairly penalising visitors to the Caribbean because it is based on the distance from London to the capital city of the destination, rather than the miles flown.

So, for example, a passenger will pay less APD to fly to Hawaii than Barbados.

Barbados’ aim is to scrap the second hike and get the Caribbean reclassified in the same tax band as the US, which will mean a hike to £60 in economy and £120 in premium.

Prime Minister Thompson (pictured, second right) said “I am delighted so many influential travel and tourism organizations in the UK are supporting our APD campaign. There was complete agreement amongst all those attending our meeting that this is an issue the British Government need to take very seriously.

“It is unfair to discriminate against visitors to our region, who will pay far more in APD than those traveling to destinations that are many thousands of miles further away.”

Last week, Tim Jeans, marketing director at Monarch Airlines, gave a stark view on how APD could hit the industry.

Speaking at a Chartered Institute of Marketing Travel Intelligence Group debate on air travel he said:

“Governments are beginning to turn towards air travel as a cash machine.

“From November 1 it will cost a family of four travelling to the Caribbean £400 in tax on Air Passenger Duty.

“We may yet have seen the peak of air travel.”

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