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Jamaica hails APD cut

NATASHA BECKLES, [email protected]

Jamaica hails APD cut

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KINGSTON – Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Dr Wykeham McNeil, has welcomed the move made by Britain on Wednesday to cut the Air Passenger Duty (APD) for travelling to the Caribbean.
McNeil hailed the decision as one that would prove favourable to Jamaica.     
“This is good for Jamaica It’s good for the Caribbean for two reasons. We have a problem with the absolute amount of the APD,  it is a lot. In April [it] would have gone for £83 to £85 which is a lot and sort of dampens the travel that you have [planned].”
He said the other reason for optimism was that by having only one tax for long-haul flights instead of  multiple bands, Jamaica’s tourism product would be more competitive with other destinations which target high-spending British tourists.
“By breaking into just two bands, A and B, it will be a level playing field; you will have short hauls and the long haul will all be in the same band.
“Secondly we are looking at the absolute figures. The APD was to move on April 1. Next year our projection is that band B will be at about £71, that would be a saving of about £14,” he said.
The Cayman Islands has also welcomed the news of reduced APD for long-haul visitors from Britain.
Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said the reduction provides a significant break for those who have been considering a Cayman Islands or Caribbean vacation.
“As a country we have lobbied independently for this reduction and we are enormously pleased that our efforts have paid off. We have also been supportive of the positioning taken by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) who has been lobbying since 2010 for this reduction and other Caribbean nations who have been similarly affected by this restrictive fee,” he said. (CMC)