Call for travel tax cut
A leading tourism spokesman has called on Caribbean governments to lower the departure tax for intra-regional travel.
Director and chief executive officer of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, Alex Sanguinetti, also wants governments to implement the several decisions they agreed on over the years to help the industry.
He made the appeals at Wednesday’s third quarterly general meeting of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association at Hilton Barbados.
He suggested CARICOM countries follow the example of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ABC countries (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) in lowering the departure tax for intra-regional travel only.
In CARICOM the departure tax for travel among the islands could be as low as $4 to $6, he said.
“This would stimulate the intra-Caribbean [travel] market,” he told the meeting.
He complained that regional travel had fallen on hard times, resulting in a sharply reduced slice of the overall tourism market.
“The intra-Caribbean market used to rival Canada for No. 3 in terms of total market share,” he reported.
Sanguinetti argued that if governments removed some of the restrictions on intra-regional travel, “it would also have a positive effect on travel coming into the Caribbean because people would find it easier to have dual-centre holidays”.
He complained that Caribbean tourism ministers had recorded several agreements over the years, but those agreements were still “gathering dust”. (TY)