British travel tax to rise, again

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British travel tax to rise, again

British citizens who plan to travel to the Caribbean will have to dig deeper into their pockets as the Air Passenger Duty (APD) implemented by Britain is being increased again.

All increases will take effect in April 2013, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourne said on Wednesday in the British Government’s Autumn Statement.

The tax was hiked in April 2012 by 8 percent.

According to Osbourne, tax on all long-haul flights and in premium cabins including those to the Caribbean will rise by £2 (EC$9) per passenger.

The levy on short-haul economy flights will remain at £13 (EC$56), however the UK government introduced a new tax rate for private jets, which were previously exempt from the APD.

Passengers on flights with fewer than 19 seats will have to pay £52 or EC$225 to £376 or a little over EC$1,600, depending on the length of flight,  Osbourne said.

The APD has been consistently criticized by tourism interests, with President and Chief Executive Officer of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), David Scowsill, describing it as ‘a disease.’

Caribbean countries are on record as pointing to the impact of the APD; they along with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation contend that the tax has resulted in declining numbers of Britons visiting the Caribbean.

The Caribbean countries continue to denounce the tax as discriminatory and harmful to their tourism prospects.

Earlier this year, St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Kenny Anthony wrote to Osbourne telling him of the “deleterious effect” the tax has on Caribbean economies.

Last year, Dominica’s Tourism Minister, Ian Douglas, described the tax as “really unfortunate.”

The APD, instituted in 1994, is a British environmental tax aimed at offsetting aviation’s carbon footprint.

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