Simmonds: Prove negative impact of APD
KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – British Undersecretary for the Caribbean, Mark Simmonds has challenged governments in the region to provide evidence of the negative impact of the Airline Passenger Duty (APD) on visitor arrivals from the United Kingdom.
Simmonds told journalists at a press conference here yesterday that to date there has been no evidence of the fallout attributed to the APD.
“We need to have evidence given to us that there is a direct correlation between the APD and a reduction of tourist travelers coming to Jamaica and elsewhere. Nobody has as yet ever been able to provide me with that evidence. Once I receive such evidence, I will feed straight into Her Majesty’s Treasury and they will then feed it into their policy development and review process,” said Simmonds.
The APD, which is particularly high for long-haul travel, has been criticized as an additional financial burden for travellers and a disincentive to make the trip to the Caribbean.
Tourism interests in the region have been lobbying for the duty to be reduced.
The APD is an excise duty for persons travelling on any airplane that has more than 20 seats for passengers or exceeding an official take-off weight of more than ten tonnes from an airport anywhere in the United Kingdom.
It has been a major source of contention, particularly within the Caribbean where it is believed that the tax has been unfairly applied and tax bands should be revised.
Last month, during a parliamentary debate Labour MPs Diane Abbott and David Lammy expressed concerns that the travel tax was preventing citizens of Caribbean heritage from returning home to visit family.