Caribbean destinations are continuing to ramp up efforts to secure a design change of the Air Passenger Duty (APD) on long haul air travel from the UK. Efforts are being made to secure the support of other countries to get behind the Caribbean’s lobby effort against the controversial duty.
The Jamaica Tourism Minister, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has outlined that following months of discussions between Caribbean Tourism officials and the British Government, an agreement has been reached to review the APD issue by March of this year.
Speaking to Journalists at the 2011 Caribbean Marketplace Tradeshow at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, Minister Bartlett revealed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, will be making a statement regarding the future of the tax on March 23. He emphasised that following the announcement consultations are expected to be held on proposals for a successor regime to the APD. Regional Tourism Ministers are hoping these discussions will take into account the Caribbean’s proposal for a design change to the duty regime.
The Caribbean’s proposal is for the band arrangement to be adjusted to establish only two bands for long and short haul respectively as well as a rate adjustment.
The Tourism Minister noted: “We in the Caribbean have been lobbying for the implementation of a two-tiered band under which the ADP should be applied. One tier for what is known as “short-haul” destination and the second tier for so-called “long haul” destinations. That policy would be a win-win situation for all concerned, as apart from proving to be a revenue-neutral position, it will remove the disparity which exists between travellers heading into the Caribbean paying more APD than those going into the United States.”
Minister Bartlett explained: “The indication by representatives of a number of non-Caribbean countries affected by the ADP to join the advocacy group from the region, has resulted in increased optimism that the March 23 announcement will be very favourable to all concerned. We have always held the view that a unified approach towards getting our concerns regarding the application of the APD addressed would bear fruits.”
As of November last year, the duty was increased which saw a band of between 75 and 150 pound sterling being applied to the airline tickets purchased by travellers heading out of English airports into the Caribbean and beyond.