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Disappointed in Britain

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Disappointed in Britain

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ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC) – The Grenada government says it is disappointed that Britain had not agreed to a reduction in the controversial Air Passenger Duty (APD) that Caribbean countries say put them at a disadvantage and could destroy their vital tourism industry.
Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture Minister Alexandra Otway-Noel said she was disappointed that British Chancellor of Exchequer, George Osborne in his “Autumn Statement” to Parliament earlier this week, did not announce a reduction in the taxes at a time when tourist arrivals from the United kingdom were on the decline.
In his address, Osborne said that the increase in the tax, which goes into effect from April 1, 2014, would increase the cost of medium and long-haul flights from Great Britain.
According to estimates, this essentially means that a family of four traveling economy to the United States will pay £276, up from £268, while the APD would move from £332 to £340 if they were travelling to the Caribbean. Moreover, those opting for premium economy, business- or first-class cabins, will be required to pay double the sum.
Noting that this is the sixth time there has been an increase in the APD, Otway-Noel said she was also disappointed that the decision to follow through with the tax increases was carried out in spite of the lobbying done by Caribbean tourism officials for the British to halt the APD augmentation.
Otway-Noel was recently part of a delegation that met with the Treasury Ministry in Britain while on her recent trip to the World Travel Market. Several Ministers and Caribbean tourism officials have lobbied with the British Government over the tax that, for several years, has been on the rise.