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Oct 29

Uk Tour Operator Says Travellers Continue To Book Caribbean Holidays Despite Apd Rise

Tourism leaders and travel companies who are rallying to abolish air passenger duty (APD) have suffered a setback after the British tour operator, Hayes and Jarvis, revealed that the tax is not affecting the travel industry.

The chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and minister of tourism for St Kitts and Nevis, Richard Skerritt, recently stated that the rising APD would lead to a decline in the number of travellers booking Caribbean holidays.

However, Hayes and Jarvis recently revealed that bookings for holidays to the Caribbean have increased by 37 per cent since 2011. This Post Office supported this research after it reported a 12 per cent increase in sales of the Barbados dollar and a 22 per cent rise in sales of the Trinidad and Tobago dollar since last year.

The recent study shows that travellers are continuing to book holidays in the Caribbean despite the recent eight per cent increase in APD which came into effect on 1st April, 2012 following an announcement from the British chancellor, George Osborne, during the budget.

APD is charged according to how far away the capital of a country is from the United Kingdom. Despite Florida and Hawaii being located further from the UK, the countrys capital New York is closer than many Caribbean cities, so passengers booking Caribbean flights are charged more.

Last month, Mr Osborne announced that APD would rise by eight per cent which is double the rate of inflation. Passengers flying out of Britain pay the highest APD in the world.

Mr Skerritt argued that APD has contributed towards a fall in the number of British tourists travelling to the Caribbean over recent years and this has affected revenue for Caribbean hotels and resorts, local businesses and tourist attractions.

According to the CTO, Caribbean nationals who live in Britain have reduced the number of trips they take back to their home islands to visit their families and friends by a fifth.

The travel and tourism leaders, including airline chiefs and Caribbean governments, are continuing with their efforts to call for a reduction or the removal of the unfair tax.

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