Call to re-adjust UK tax
Jamaica’s Minister Bruce Golding has reiterated a call for the United Kingdom government to adjust an aviation passenger duty (APD) tax which he said is posing serious problems for the Caribbean tourism industry.
Speaking at the start of the two-day Caribbean Marketplace and awards presentation on Sunday night, Golding said that several Caribbean leaders had sought to impress upon the British government the need to adjust the new tax measure without success.
Last November, the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) said it had proposed reforming the controversial APD with Britain charging one rate for flights within Europe and another for long-haul journeys.
Before November 1, each economy class traveller to the Caribbean paid £50 (US$77) in APD, but that tax was increased to £75 (US $115) – the second in as many years. The levy for premium economy, business and first class passengers rose from £100 (US$154) to £150 (US$291).
Golding said when he handed over the chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to his Grenadian counterpart, Tillman Thomas, he provided a full brief on all CARICOM activities including a detailed update on the issue and was confident that the regional leaders would continue to make representation to London.
But he said “going to London and pleading are not the only options we have” adding that there were other options that the Caribbean may have to consider in tackling something that “is not just unfair and unjust but is in conflict with established global rules of tourism”.
Golding said while he could not speak for Caribbean countries on the matter and while it would be premature to speak on the position that the Government of Jamaica will take, there is no option that is off the table.
‘We are going to secure justice in this matter one way or the other,” Golding said, noting that Jamaica is delighted to be hosting Caribbean Marketplace, and welcomed the participants whom he said were the indispensible partners in the tourism enterprise that means so much to the Caribbean islands.
“We value that partnership and we want to make that partnership even stronger. This is a real marketplace and like any marketplace we have buyers and sellers. I want to welcome these buyers especially because without you there would be no market or need for a marketplace”, he said.
Golding said that despite the many natural assets of the region, it is the buyers who clinch the deals for the Caribbean. (CMC)