CHTA, CTO Welcome WTTC Research On Value Of Tourism To Caribbean Region
"For as long as the UK retains the current four band APD system which sees UK passengers to the Caribbean charged more in duty than those travelling much greater distances to US destinations,, the Caribbean is placed at an unjustifiable competitive disadvantage.
"The UK government's response to its consultation on reform of APD was a slap in the face for the Caribbean. This issue is so central to the economic development of the Caribbean and to its 800,000 strong community in the UK that we will continue to argue that we must be included in the same band as the US".
Commenting in reference to the research conducted by Oxford Economics for the WTTC relating to the sensitivity of passengers to changes in air fares, Josef Forstmayr, President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, added:
"The study reflects the huge economic contribution that travel and tourism makes. A significant proportion of visitors to the Caribbean originate in the UK. Those visitors are vital to both the Caribbean economy and to UK airlines, tour operators, travel agents and all of the companies providing back office services and supplies to the industry. This close link means that as arrivals to the Caribbean from the UK fall, APD is damaging both Caribbean and UK businesses.
"Increases in APD since 2009 have had a negative impact on UK-Caribbean Tourism. APD is no longer a tax based on environmental principles. There can therefore be no reason for discriminating against destinations based on distance travelled. For this reason the CHTA passed a resolution in January 2012 asking Caribbean governments through the CTO to explore all available legal options".
Since 2008, the Caribbean and its community in the UK have consistently sought to raise the issue of APD at all levels of the British government and with the UK parliament.
The issue of APD was addressed at the UK-Caribbean Government Forum in Grenada in January 2012. In the action points arising from the Forum, the UK committed to "continue dialogue on issues relating to the APD, in the spirit of cooperation and in the context of the importance of tourism to the economic development of the Caribbean, with a view to assisting the region in mitigating any deleterious effects that the application of the APD may have on its economies".
The Caribbean hopes that the UK Treasury will consider this action point when making a decision about any further increases in APD and the impact that it will have on a region that it recognises is tourism dependent.
Collectively, a number of Caribbean Prime Ministers, Ministers of Tourism, officials from the Caribbean Tourism Organization and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association have consistently raised the issue of Air Passenger Duty with the UK Government and UK Parliament. CHTA and CTO have repeatedly expressed concern about the negative effect that APD is having on the tourism dependent economies of the Caribbean and on the Caribbean community living in the United Kingdom.
The Caribbean understands the challenge faced by the UK in respect of revenue raising, and has put forward constructive suggestions on how the UK can benefit from an Air Passenger Duty tax in a non-discriminatory way. The Caribbean does not believe that APD should be imposed at the expense of the Caribbean economy or its community in the UK.
The Caribbean made a formal response to the Air Passenger Duty consultation in June. In summary this made clear that:
- It requires parity in banding with the US.
- A move to a two band system would address the Caribbean's requirement if this resulted in equal treatment of all long haul destinations.
- No other option set out in the UK Government's consultation on reform of APD addressed the concerns of the Caribbean.
- APD is a political issue with the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK.
Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association
The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) facilitates the full potential of the Caribbean hotel and tourism industry by serving members' needs and building partnerships in a socially responsible and sustainable manner. Celebrating its Golden Jubilee in 2012, CHTA is the voice of the Caribbean hospitality industry for the development of the region in the highly competitive and sophisticated environment of international tourism. Today, tourism is widely recognized as a pivotal industry in the economy of the region - and CHTA functions as the common denominator for this industry in a region of diverse nationalities, languages and styles, identifying mutual problems and marshaling the resources of the active and allied members to devise solutions. CHTA represents all facets of the hospitality industry with more than 725 member hotels and 375 allied members. For more information, visit http://www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com. Follow CHTA on Facebook www.Facebook.com/CaribbeanHotelandTourismAssociation and Twitter www.Twitter.com/CHTAFeeds.
Caribbean Tourism Organization
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with the headquarters in Barbados and marketing operations in New York and London, is the Caribbean's tourism development agency and comprises membership of over 30 governments and a myriad of private sector entities.
The CTO's mission is to provide to and through its members, the services and information needed for the development of sustainable tourism for the economic and social benefit of the Caribbean people. The organization provides specialized support and technical assistance to member countries in the areas of marketing, human resource development, research and statistics, information technology, advocacy and sustainable tourism development. The CTO disseminates information on behalf of its member governments to consumers and the travel trade.
Theresa M. Oakes
Phone: (516) 594-4100