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Added worry over airplane tax

Natasha Beckles

Added worry over airplane tax

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AS?CARIBBEAN?TOURISM?OFFICIALS continue to lobby against the increased Air Passenger Duty (APD) levied on British travellers to the Caribbean, they are also monitoring other developments that could result in additional cost to passengers.
Hugh Riley, secretary general and chief executive officer of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), said there was some unease concerning the European Union Emissions Trading System and the possibility of an airplane tax.
Under the trading system, as of January 2011 airlines are required to purchase carbon permits to offset their emissions.
Speaking during the CTO’s annual state-of-the-industry Press conference at its Collymore Rock, St Michael office on Wednesday, Riley maintained that “the redesign of the APD to provide a revenue-neutral rebalancing between long- and short-haul destinations” is the only equitable and viable solution for the region and its community in the United Kingdom.
“The Caribbean has never questioned the right of any sovereign government to impose a tax. The Caribbean itself has been accused of having its own taxes on airline tickets but nothing in the Caribbean compares to the scale of this,” he said.
However, Riley said concerns went “beyond the re-banding of the region and the development of a more equitable relationship between the distance travelled and the taxation of emissions”.
“We remain concerned about factors relating to possible additional costs to passengers to the Caribbean arising from the European Union emissions trading system.
“We’re concerned about uncertainty surrounding the manner in which airlines might pass this on to consumers and we’re concerned about the absence of any information on a possible airplane tax,” he said.