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CHTA raps Brit stance on APD


Geralyn Edward

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The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) has strongly condemned the British government’s decision not to change its air passenger duty (APD) banding structure.
This followed the announcement a week ago that rates to the Caribbean would increase by eight per cent from April 2012 and that the British would continue to penalize aspirational travellers flying in premium economy, who would remain in the same category as first class.
“This decision demonstrates [Britain’s] complete disregard for the future economic prosperity of the Caribbean and the role of tourism in [its] development.
“The decision taken by the [British] treasury is in total contrast to the stated policy of [Britain’s] desire to improve its relations with the independent Caribbean and Britain’s Overseas Territories in the Caribbean,” the CHTA said in a statement.
The regional tourism body said that since the British chancellor drew attention to the discrimination of the APD band structure vis-à-vis the rates for the Caribbean and United States in his 2011 Budget statement, it was “incomprehensible that he has subsequently chosen to continue this economic discrimination against the Caribbean”.
The CHTA?said: “The discrimination of the APD band structure is demonstrated by the fact that the APD economy class tax from London to Barbados, a distance of 4 190 miles, is US$130 compared to an APD  tax of US$104 for London to Honolulu, a distance of 7 220 miles.
“For flying 72 per cent more miles to Honolulu, the APD charge to Honolulu is 20 per cent less than flying a shorter distance to Barbados.
“The APD charge to Barbados on a per-mile basis is 114.7 per cent more expensive when compared to the per-mile charge to Barbados.”
The CHTA?said the Caribbean was the most tourism-dependent region in the world.
“The failure to amend the APD banding also demonstrates a complete disregard for the impact of APD on the Caribbean community living in [Britain] which maintains strong links with the Caribbean.
“Data suggests that they have already been forced to decrease their visits by 20 per cent since the four-band system was introduced. Increased ticket cost is given as the reason for this.”

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