Britain’s decision to go ahead with the double inflationary increase in Air Passenger Duty on Sunday has been condemned by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), the Caribbean region’s tourism development agency.
The Budget 2012, which was released on March 21st, confirmed that the double inflationary increase in Air Passenger Duty to all destinations that had been announced in November 2011 would go ahead from this Sunday, April 1st 2012.
This means that APD to destinations in Band C, which includes all Caribbean countries, will increase from £75 (USD$118) in economy to £81 (USD$130), and from £150 (USD$236) to £162 (USD$260) in all other classes, including the popular Premium Economy.
Of further concern to the Caribbean and all other tourism destinations that depend on UK arrivals was the announcement that an inflationary increase would be applied to APD in the next financial year, meaning a further increase from April 1st 2013.
CTO chairman Richard Skerritt argued: “The news that APD to all destinations will be increased in line with UK inflation once again in 2013 is a huge disappointment.
“The rate of APD to the Caribbean is already too high and discriminates against the Caribbean because of the way that it is structured.
“APD continues to damage the growth and development of Caribbean economies and all Caribbean people regardless of whether they work in the tourism industry or not.
“Worse, APD will continue to have a devastating effect on our large Caribbean community in the UK who maintain very strong links with family and friend s in the region.
The Caribbean is the most tourism dependent region in the world.
CTO research suggests, among other factors such as the global financial crisis, APD has been a contributing factor to the decline in arrivals to the Caribbean from the UK in recent years.
Furthermore, evidence suggests that the Caribbean community in the UK has had to reduce its travel to the region by as much as 20 per cent since 2009 when the significant increases in APD were introduced.
The CTO has been at the forefront of what is now a global campaign against Air Passenger Duty and will continue to make the case for an industry which is so central to the Caribbean economy.