Outcry over UK decision to maintain APD band system
Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation Ricky Skerritt said the announcement by the UK government is a slap in the face of Caribbean people.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday December 7, 2011 – Tourism stakeholders in the Caribbean and Britain have slammed the decision by the UK government to maintain the band system used to calculate the Air Passenger Duty.
Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) Ricky Skerritt said it is a “slap in the face”.
“The fact that Premium Economy passengers will continue to be charged the same APD as First Class passengers is a blow for those customers wanting to upgrade,” the CTO official said.
The four-band system is based on the distance travelled, which translates to higher taxes for British tourists travelling to the region.
“It dismisses all of the research and information CTO has provided to the British Government over the past three years, and it contradicts the message sent by the UK Chancellor, George Osborne MP, in March 2011 when he cited the discrepancy between the USA and Caribbean APD rates as one of the reasons for holding a consultation on reform of UK APD.
“The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region of the world and the British Government's decision totally ignores the negative effect that APD is having on our economies and the Caribbean's business partners in the UK travel industry.” he added.
The chief executives of Virgin Atlantic, easyJet, International Airlines Group, and Ryanair have dismissed past consultations as “a sham and a waste of taxpayer’s money.”
They insist that the tax should be scrapped adding, “We are united in calling for the government to commission an independent study of APD’s overall economic value and impact.”
British Airways said it would reduce its plan to create 800 new jobs next year because the government’s taxation policy is hostile to aviation.
The APD will increase an estimated 10 per cent next year April.