ST. GEORGE’S, GRENADA, – GIS: The much criticized Air Passenger Duty (APD) will be reformed starting next year, according to an announcement made to the British Parliament earlier today, Wednesday March 19, by British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne.
In his statement, the Chancellor said that the APD system has been hurting traditional markets that receive UK travelers, and that the system, as originally configured, “hits exports, puts off tourists and creates a great sense of injustice among our Caribbean and South Asian communities here in Britain.”
With the reforms that are coming, “all long haul flights will carry the same, lower, Band B tax rate that passengers who travel from UK to the United States now pay.”
The Caribbean Tourism Organization has been lobbying for this change since 2007 when the APD system came into effect, because the APD rate as it is now has continuously put the region at a disadvantage when compared to the United States. In fact, with the addition of the APD in ticketing, it has been much more expensive to fly to the Caribbean than to Hawaii.
Grenada’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Alexandra Otway Noel has been consistently vocal about the need to reconfigure the “unfair APD system” so as to raise the tourism competitiveness of countries like Grenada.
On hearing the announcement from the Chancellor earlier today, Minister Otway-Noel expressed gratitude to the British Chancellor for this move and said that “as Grenada’s tourism continues to prosper, this is very welcome news for us. The restructuring of the APD is a positive step for the Caribbean because it will now ensure reduced ticket rates, which will enable more visitors to afford the region as a destination. This will finally give us a fair chance to compete.”
The Minster noted that Grenada can now refocus on the UK market, since it has been a traditional source market, with many Grenadians living in the UK. According to Otway-Noel, the reformation of the APD, and Grenada’s rebranding are two recent initiatives that can only serve to guarantee that our Tourism industry will continue to grow.
Minister Otway-Noel was one of four Ministers who met with the Treasury Department of the United Kingdom’s government last November, while at the World Travel Market. The only item on that meeting’s agenda was the need for the UK to address the current APD system which was hurting Caribbean tourism.