CTO News

CTO Statement on Reform of the UK Air Passenger Duty

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 6 December, 2011 – The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) is deeply disappointed and surprised by the UK Government’s announcement on 6 December that it will continue to discriminate against the Caribbean in relation to the banding aspect of the Air Passenger Duty (APD) system.

In a 26-page document published today, the British government said that APD rates to Caribbean destinations will continue to be considerably higher than those to some competitor destinations. Furthermore, 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

Over a period of three years, the Caribbean and its community in the UK have consistently sought to raise the issue of APD at all levels of the British government and with the UK parliament.

Minister Ricky Skerritt, Chairman of the CTO said: “Today’s announcement on the APD is a slap in the face for all Caribbean people. 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.”

NOTES
Caribbean Prime Ministers, Ministers of Tourism, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK, including the High Commissioners, have consistently raised the issue of Air Passenger Duty with the UK Government and UK Parliament our concern about the negative effect that APD is having on the tourism dependent economies of the Caribbean and on the Caribbean community living in the United Kingdom.

The Caribbean understands the challenge faced by the UK in respect of revenue raising,
and has put forward constructive suggestions on how the UK can benefit from an Air Passenger Duty tax in a non discriminatory way. The Caribbean does not believe that APD should be imposed at the expense of the Caribbean economy or its community in the UK.

The Caribbean made a formal response to the Air Passenger Duty consultation in June. In summary this made clear that:

• We require parity in banding with the US.

• A move to a two band system would address the Caribbean’s requirement if this resulted in equal treatment of all long haul destinations.

• No other option set out in the consultation addresses the concerns of the Caribbean.

• APD has become a political issue with the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK.

Posted in: 2011 News, APD, Blog

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