News Americas, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thurs. Dec. 4, 2014: Regional tourism arm, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, (CTO), on Wednesday welcomed the announcement by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, of further changes to the Air Passenger Duty (APD) from next May.
In his December 3rd Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced the abolition of APD for children under the age of 12 from next May, one month after the current four-tier APD system is simplified into two bands, reducing APD on fares to the Caribbean and other long-haul destinations to the same rate as to the US.
The tax will be abolished for all children under 16 in 2016. This tax break will save a family of four flying to the Caribbean £142.
CTO Chairman and Minister of Tourism and International Transport for Barbados, Richard Sealy, welcomed the changes, noting it would reduce “the burden on families travelling to the Caribbean, as it will make flying a bit more affordable.”
The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) also celebrated the news.
“The timing of the abolition of the tax will further benefit families as vacations in the Caribbean are reduced for summertime travel,” said Jeffrey S. Vasser, CHA, director general and CEO of CHTA.
The APD has risen by up to 160 per cent since it was introduced twenty years ago and six times in the last six years. Under the new two-band system all long-haul flights (over 4,000 miles) will be moved into band B, which means UK customers traveling to the Caribbean will pay the same tax as if they were traveling to the United States.
According to the Budget:, from April 1, 2015, the tax on long-haul flights between 4,001 and 6,000 miles will be reduced by £14 per person, while those over 6,000 miles will be cut by £26. With today’s announcement, a family of four (two adults, two children) could save over £140 starting May 2015.
The CTO, CHTA and members of the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK had lobbied intensely on the APD.