Barbados to cut airport tax in half to attract more regional travellersFriday, July 23, 2021
In a move to create greater tourist activity on the island, the authorities in Barbados say they will reduce airport taxes by as much as 50 per cent.
Announcing the Cabinet-approved decision, the country's minister of tourism, Lisa Cummins, said the move was particularly aimed at boosting intra-regional tourism and make the destination more competitive as the country also moves to rebuild the sector, which, like many of its Caribbean counterparts, was badly affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“What we have started to do is to look at tourism as comprehensively as we can, both structurally as well as from a price competitiveness perspective.
“Cabinet has agreed that there is to be a 50 per cent reduction in airport service charge for regional travellers. That brings us in line to what you have been hearing coming out of other markets. Particularly, one market that has already announced it is Antigua, where there is a 50 per cent reduction. Barbados, at the level of Cabinet, has also agreed to that significant reduction,” she said in response to questions posed by local media this week during a briefing to provide update on the industry.
As a first step, the minister said that a comprehensive review of the country's pricing structure within the industry would be undertaken shortly.
“We are looking at what is the price sensitivity of the Barbados tourism product relative to our competitors. What that means is that we have to look at how many flights are coming into the region by country per day, where they're coming from, cost of these flights, taxes applied in each country along with the public health measures to ultimately compare how these create a competitive or uncompetitive position for Barbados before making changes to current structures,” she further stated.
The Government has, however, indicated that this measure will last for six months in the first instance.
“There is nothing to lose at this time, very little will [be lost] as a result of cutting those taxes. We will see how it impacts revenue and then make a final determination going forward as to what percentage is sustainable, [be it] 25, 40 or even the 50 per cent,” said Antigua's Prime Minister Gaston Browne, adding that the new measure could also assist regional carrier, LIAT, as it grapples with its financial challenges.
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