November 23, 2012 | 1:42 pm | Print
Above: a British Airways Flight
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The fight for a “fairer” British Air Passenger Duty, a levy on flights originating in the United Kingdom based on their destination, will continue until a resolution is found, according to Barbados Tourism Minister Richard Sealy.
The Minister, who was speaking at a press briefing this week, said that with the UK government is not going to abolish the APD, Barbados’ fight will be focused on being “rebanded” within the current system.
The APD’s banding system applies different taxes to flights depending on the distance traveled. Many in the Caribbean have alleged that the banding unfairly discriminates against the Caribbean tourism sector.
“We are simply saying, because of how the APD is calculated, you pay a smaller [tax] when you are going to Honolulu, Hawaii, or the west coast of the US than when you are coming to Barbados, which is closer,” he said. “We believe there is a special case for the Caribbean, the most tourism-dependent region in the world, to be rebanded.”
He said that this cause had received “widespread support” from the British government and across party lines, calling it “crucial to ramp up the lobby effort and, in essence, try to pressure the UK government into recognizing the absurd situation.”
“In fairness to them, they have not shut the door on us,” he said. “We have had minor successes in the past, but we now need to see what we can do to have something more permanent in that respect.”
Earlier this month, Northern Ireland announced it would be removing the APD on long-haul flights, the destinations of which include Barbados.