On the eve of the UK Budget, Jamaican minister for tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has presented his final case to the UK government for a reduction or redesign to the current APD system.
Speaking before he left the UK further to completing the final leg of his European trip, Bartlett said: “In the knowledge that this week is a very important Budget for the UK and its Government, I would ask that they do not lose site of the APD problem that Caribbean destinations such as Jamaica are currently experiencing.”
Conflicting reports from the UK in recent days have suggested APD could be maintained at its present level or even increased.
A separate tax on private jets has also been mooted.
“Further to months of lobbying, our message is simple in that the Caribbean’s economy is based on tourism with one in seven workers directly employed in the sector and one in five indirectly, all equating to a figure of $39 billion accounting for a third of foreign exchange earnings,” continued Bartlett.
“These statistics cannot be ignored, particularly when we are just bringing about a level of stability to this sector on the back of a very tough recession.”
Jamaica was voted the Caribbean’s Leading Destination by the prestigious World Travel Awards in 2010.
“Therefore, both Jamaica and other such Caribbean destinations hope that there will be a sensible approach to APD in terms of a balance of equity across the board globally, particularly for the Caribbean not to be at a disadvantage to the US,” explained Bartlett.
“What needs to be made clear is that if the current system is not addressed fairly, there will be long lasting effects on the UK, in terms of the fact that destinations such as Jamaica and the UK are inexplicably linked and as such, not addressing the APD issue could put this relationship into irreversible jeopardy.”
Chancellor George Osborne will present his second Budget to parliament on Wednesday March 22nd.
For more information head over to the VisitJamaica website.