Opposition Welcomes UK Travel Tax Reform - Robinson

Release Date: 
Friday, March 21, 2014 - 14:15

The Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), has joined the other voices that have welcomed the recent announcement by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. George Osbourne, that the Air Passenger Duty (APD), will be reformed effective April 1, 2015.

Opposition Spokesperson on Tourism, Mrs. Shahine Robinson, stated that the decision by the UK government to reform the APD, was a welcomed victory for the Caribbean region, which has seen a reduction in passenger arrivals from the United Kingdom (UK), due in part to the onerous tax on travel.

Mrs Robinson said that “the reform is a step in the right direction and we must congratulate the efforts of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), Ministers of Tourism, and governments across the region who worked tirelessly to lobby the UK to reduce the tax. The reform will now place Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean at the same competitive advantage with the United States of America (USA), as a vacation destination for UK tourists.”

She added that that the JLP was proud that the recommendation made in November 2010 by the CTO, when Mr Edmund Bartlett was Minister of Tourism, to return to the 2 band system, had finally been accepted by the government of the UK. She stated that “it has taken many years to get this reform in place. Not only did we succeed in having the question of the unfairness of the increased taxes and the prejudicial effect on the Caribbean as a tourist destination, placed before the World Trade Organisation (WTO), but the efforts of our former High Commissioner to the UK Anthony Johnson and Mr Ed Bartlett, the JLP’s former Minister of Tourism, certainly played a major role in this result.”  She further explained that “Mr Bartlett had gotten the matter on the WTO Agenda, had personally petitioned the House of Lords to sensitize them as to the negative impact of the APD on Caribbean economies, and was also able to place the issue before the European Union (EU) for its consideration in Brussels.”

Mrs Robinson also stated that “the JLP remains committed to working with the government and the CTO, to further lobby the UK to reduce the APD, to make it more affordable for visitors to travel from the UK to Jamaica  and the wider Caribbean region. This she noted, “would certainly lead to an increase in visitor arrivals to our shores, give our economy the boost it needs, provide more employment for those in the tourism sector and also increase our Net International Reserves (NIR).”