|Minister of Torusim, Richard Sealy (second from right) is pictured at a past media conference. (FP)|
The fight for a fairer Airline Passenger Duty (APD), a tax which travellers out of the United Kingdom pay based on their destination, will continue until a resolution is found.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday at Ocean 2 Hotel, which was also attended by Acting CEO of the Barbados Tourism Authority, Urban Cumberbatch, Minister Sealy made it clear that while the UK Government was not going to abolish the APD, Barbados’ fight would now be focused on being rebanded within the existing system.
"…They have identified it as one of the ways they can deal with their fiscal challenges…We have to take our efforts in another direction…We are asking for the Caribbean to be rebanded.?? We are currently in Band ???C’ and the US is in band ???B’…
"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 U.S. than when you are coming to Barbados, which is closer…We believe there is a special case for the Caribbean, the most tourism dependent region in the world, to be rebanded," the Minister said.
Noting that this cause had received widespread support from the British Government and across party lines, Mr. Sealy maintained that it was crucial to "ramp up the lobby effort and in essence try to pressure the UK Government into recognising the absurd situation," he underlined.??
The Caribbean diaspora in the UK, the Tourism Minister observed, could also serve as an advocate and lobby this effort, as public pressure often proved an effective catalyst for change.
"In fairness to them, they have not shut the door on us…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," he added.