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Sealy: APD fight not over

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Sealy: APD fight not over

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THE CARIBBEAN IS GEARING UP for a “protracted fight” with Britain to force that country’s hand in rebanding the region in the controversial Air Passenger Duty scheme.
Barbados’ Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy has vowed to keep lobbying the British government over the tax imposed on British travellers that has cost them more for tickets to the Caribbean than for travel to destinations farther away from London.
“We want to see that we can get some rebanding at the very least,” Sealy told guests at the official opening of the new Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) offices at Baobab Towers in Warrens, Thursday, though he did not expect the tax to be repealed outright.
He also urged the CTO to continue its advocacy.
Sealy said that judging from the response of Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to representation made by the chairman of CARICOM, it was clear that Britain intended to go ahead with proposed increases in the tax next year despite continued lobbying by regional and British tourism interests.
But he maintained that “if this tax continues, it will have a significant negative impact on our tourism numbers”.
He observed that the Caribbean had become “the most tourism-dependent region in the world”, a fact that underscored regional governments’ expectations from the CTO, which he lauded for its work in research and training.
However, Sealy warned the organization that it had “a lot of work to do” in the cruise industry so that the region snared its fair share of cruise business.
Beverly Nicholson Doty, chairman of the CTO’s Council of Ministers and Commissioners, cut the ribbon to officially open the new offices. (GC)