By Shamkoe Pilé
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) — Barbados minister of tourism and international transport, Richard Sealy, has stressed that the Airline Passenger Duty (APD) imposed on persons travelling from Britain to the Caribbean is a major hindrance, forcing potential visitors to choose non-regional destinations.
He made this assertion during a courtesy call on Monday from High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to Barbados, Victoria Dean, at his ministry’s headquarters.
Stressing that there was an inaccurate perception that only rich Britons take holidays in Barbados, Sealy said, “An overwhelming majority of the Brits who travel to this island are average persons, such as teachers and civil servants, who are on budget. The APD tax does impact on their decision to travel, and if they come to the island, they will have less to spend.”
Admitting that wealthy people do travel to Barbados, he insisted that the island’s “bread and butter” were those regular persons who purchased a ticket and rented an apartment.
Dean advised the minister that Barbados has a good story to tell and noted that the island should continue to highlight its positive attributes in the British market.
“It is good to focus on the overall tourist experience,” she said, adding that while some persons may focus on price, it was essential for the island to send a strong message about the quality of its tourism product to potential visitors.
Moreover, the British envoy suggested that Barbados should continue to ensure that visitor security remains a priority.
Both officials also discussed emerging tourist markets, enhancing the island’s tourism product, and benefits of niche tourism, specifically in the area of sports.