May 18, 2011 - Baroness Floella Benjamin called for the Government to reform both the structure and level of Air Passenger Duty to the Caribbean.
Baroness Floella Benjamin, Liberal Democrat Peer, has called for the Government to reform both the structure and level of Air Passenger Duty to the Caribbean. Baroness Benjamin led a debate yesterday in the House of Lords focussing on the human cost of rising APD. It is thought that high levels of APD have contributed to a significant fall in visitor numbers from the UK to the islands which are also illogically taxed at a higher rate than flights to the USA, despite flight distances being often considerably shorter.
Baroness Benjamin said: "I raised the debate on the impact of Air Passenger Duty because I wanted to focus people's mind on the human story behind tourism and the unintended impact that aviation taxes like Air Passenger Duty can have on development. Tourism provides a vital lifeline to developing countries all over the world in terms of jobs, GDP and investment, so a threat to tourism is a threat to the people in those countries that depend on tourism."
"I believe that the APD banding system introduced in 2009 was not intended to damage Caribbean tourism, but the law of unintended consequences has come in to play and evidence suggests that it is having a negative impact on the most tourism dependent region of the world – the Caribbean. We must consider how government policy and proposed reforms to APD impact upon developing countries".
March 23, 2011 - CTO Statement on the UK Government's Announcement that there will be no rise in the APD in 2011
The Chancellor of the Exchequer's budget announcement that Air Passenger Duty will not rise this year is a small but important victory for the Caribbean.
The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) is pleased with the announcement by the British Chancellor that the Air Passenger Duty (APD) will not rise this year as previously projected, thus not increasing the current tax burden on British travellers to the Caribbean. The Chancellor’s statement to his parliament that the arbitrary nature of the bands “appeared to believe that the Caribbean was further away than California,” is a clear recognition of a crucial issue that has been the focus of the strong lobbying efforts by the CTO and its allies in the private sector, the Caribbean High Commissions, and the Diaspora.
The announcement by the Chancellor is a small but important victory for the Caribbean. In our various meetings with the British Government CTO opposed the idea of a Per Plane Tax for economic reasons. We also asked that the existing banding system be reviewed; for no more increases in the APD; and for it to be revised downwards in a new, fairer system. The Chancellor’s speech gives us positive results on all three points.
It is therefore clear evidence that the British government is listening to our concerns and that we have been effective in expressing them publicly and privately.
CTO is also pleased that we have been officially invited to continue to participate in further APD consultation over the coming weeks. In so doing we will continue to argue that the current banding system places the Caribbean at a disadvantage and hurts our economies. We will persist in our efforts to obtain a fairer system of aviation taxation that does not cripple travel to our heavily tourism-dependent region.
Therefore, in spite of the good news from the UK Chancellor, our advocacy on the APD is not over. All Caribbean tourism interests must continue to fight for APD reform in a manner that further removes any competitive disadvantage, and does not hamper our efforts to achieve sustainable growth in tourism, for the benefit of the People of the Caribbean.
Click on the link to find your local MP.