Barbados Tourism Killer: Airport Departure Tax To Double

Departure Tax To Be US$27.50

The Government of Barbados has a new plan for attracting tourists… double the airport departure tax to US$27.50. So after a nice Barbados vacation, the last thing a family of four would be given as a memory of the island would be a US$110 departure fee.

Yeah… that should bring them back in a hurry!

Adrian Loveridge of Peach & Quiet Hotel also has some thoughts about this latest government plan try and raise more tax revenues…

New Airport Departure Tax A Massive Mistake

If the report carried in the Weekend Nation of Friday November 10th, 2006 is correct and the airport departure tax is being increased by over 100 per cent to BDS$55 (US$27.50), it is in my opinion a massive mistake and a huge obstacle to stimulating the only market where Barbados has demonstrated consistent growth, intra regional travel.

You cannot simply dismiss the more than doubling of yet another tax by stating that our ‘service charge is the lowest in the region’, even if that statement was true.

Intra Caribbean travel is a vital source of business to Barbados and represents the third largest market. It is especially important to our small hotel sector which suffers one of the lowest average annual occupancy rates within the region.

Driving summer business is a vital key to the survival and upgrading environment of our hotel sector and this huge price hike to act as a severe deterrent to encouraging more Caribbean residents to holiday within in the region instead of flying off to Miami or New York.

With already sky-high airfares linking the comparatively short distances between Caribbean islands, those contemplating a long weekend to St. Martin, Martinique of St. Lucia will now be faced with being forced to pay over BDS$100 (US$50) in airport departures alone.

In many cases more than what many of our small hotels are obtaining as a nightly average room rate.

Governments must learn that there are only so many ways you can extract taxes. If the taxes are so high as to act as a reason not to travel to a destination, which is already perceived as expensive, then there will be no overall benefit to the national economy.

Adrian Loveridge
10 November 2006
(246) 428 2129


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism

24 responses to “Barbados Tourism Killer: Airport Departure Tax To Double

  1. Anonymous-

    I really have to also state my disagreement with the increase for the reasons Loveridge mentioned, and the fact that the improvements which the GAIA board would like to finance through the departure tax increase can be done on a phased basis and need not all be implemented as a matter of urgency.

    It’s quite rare for travellers to have that amount of money on leaving a destination, but in fairness to GAIA, they’re also making a move to have the departure tax included in the airline ticket so that it is more ‘seamless’. Still, intra-Caribbean travel would be suffering a blow because in some instances this new departure tax can account for 15% of the ticket – or higher.

    I’m not sure if this is a Government or GAIA board decision, but just as Government responded to the Red Cap issue, I’m sure that if Barbadians make their opposition known that they will recant this decision or make a more marginal increase.

  2. Hants

    Charter Airfare from Toronto to Barbados at christmas.

    CAD $849.00 plus taxes of $125.00

    Penalty for spending christmas in Barbados $31

    Spending time with friends and family. priceless.

    Just a Tourist with a family of four? $124 penalty on leaving puts a damper on your vacation.

    Wouldn’t it be better if there was no departure tax and the $300 best of Barbados giveaway was scrapped?

    Then you could market Barbados as a destination where the last thing you leave with is a smile.

  3. Economix

    It simply doesn’t matter if Government or GAIA made the poor decision:
    – all how it sux.
    any move to have the departure tax included in the airline ticket so that it is more ’seamless’…is nothing but hiding the fact: rip them off quietly!
    WHEN it goes up (not if) when it goes up I intend to check bathrooms for soap and toilet paper, there is going to be NO litter left around, and I mean NONE.
    If you’re charging world class fees,
    I expect World Class Services,
    and shall be making my complaints known to all and sundry,
    if I don’t find things incredibly Up To Scratch,
    and would suggest that all of you do likewise,
    if there’s any Consumer left in you!
    If you’re gonna pay Bds.$55 for the privilege of going thru their amazing facility for one or two lousy hours,
    it had better include a ****
    or at least soap in the bathrooms and ALL mod cons!
    Oh wow! – they offer wireless connection for cool dudes with amazing laptops
    (less than 1% of all travellers?)
    – I’m so impressed,
    and so happy to be paying his bill,
    spread among all us sheep.
    Thank God I travel only once or twice a year.
    Life just keeps getting better and better in Barbados
    as they slowly strangle us to Death.
    Dontcha luv it?

    edited by Robert

    clean it up folks ****

  4. Anonymous-

    Well, if you happen to butt up on a certain DLP politician in those bathrooms at GAIA, you may get that value-added ‘*** that you want for the $55.

    edited by Robert

    clean it up folks.


    Is that DR Quinn, Lynch, or YOU that will deliver that **?

    edited by Robert.

    Clean it up folks.

  6. Bajanboy

    This is another clear example of how government favours (perhaps not intentionally) cruise tourism over land-based tourism.

    Do cruise passengers cover their fair share of the cost of the Bridgetown port? I also doubt whether the 200,000+ cruise passengers who will start their cruise on home-ported vessels in 2007 and who will transit through the airport will pay anything (other than an indirect contribution through landing fees) towards the redeveloped airport. Why should land based tourists and residents subsidize the vacation of cruise passengers?

    I do believe that the airport should be self-sustaining and we should hold the management team of GAIA Inc. to the highest quality standards for the money we are asked to pay, but there should be complete openness on the revenues and expenses of the airport.

    I believe that there are over 2 million passengers passing through the airport every year. Perhaps it is time that everyone starts paying something to the upkeep of the facility. For example, in transit passengers sometimes spend hours waiting for their connecting flights, yet pay nothing. If everyone (including home porting cruise passengers) paid something, then the tax increase would not have to be so high.

  7. Anoni

    For many years we have been paying airport taxes when going to the US, UK and Canada that are substantially higher than even what is being implemented now in Barbaods. No one sees it because it is already buit in to the ticket cost (ask any airline).

    While some interesting observations are made about cruise tourism passengers, transit passengers, the overall cost of a family of four travelling, I can’t help but comment that airpor taxes around the world are a norm and we should have been happy to have had such a low tax for so long!

    Also, it seems that many of the comments made on this site lead one to beleive that thet want to have everything perfect but don’t want to pay for it!!! – At the airport that is.

  8. Bajanboy

    I am quite happy to pay for the highest quality service. The service at the airport, while improving, still falls short of excellence. Excellence is not having to wait 90 minutes to pass through the airport on a busy afternoon. Nor is it an unclean washroom. We are so used to mediocrity in Barbados that we see any improvement as great service.

    I also need for the tax to be fairly charged to everyone using the facility. Why shouldn’t intransit passengers pay something?

  9. Yo!

    Once the Bds.$55 Escape Tax becomes a hidden affair(within the cost of the ticket),
    an airfar to the closest island St.Vincent will cost me,a Bajan..
    the Fare + 15% VAT(in lieu of what used to be travel tax),
    plus Bds.$55 Escape Tax.

    Sheesh.. the taxation component alone
    of my ticket to St.Vincent could be substantial, percentage-wise,
    at what? ..20-30% ?

    anyone know?

  10. Kathy

    Even the $25 departure tax came as a most unpleasant shock to two of my friends who recently visited Barbados. I paid it for them, as they had no idea that they would have to pay to leave the island, and did not have much money left over after buying all those expensive souvenirs.

  11. Camy

    Airport tax is a reality no matter where you go.
    It’s amazing that no one grumbles when they have to pay it in the “First World” countries. Oh by the way, how much do you have to pay to leave St. Maarten for example???? Including children over the age of 2.
    Bottom line, airport tax is the reality, live with it.

  12. Pingback: Barbados Airport Exit Tax Now Hits $60 Per Person! « Barbados Free Press

  13. Adrian Loveridge

    Has partial sense prevailed?

    In a StarCom newscast at 12.30pm today, followed by a release by GAIA Inc., it was announced that the controversial 140% increased (but seemingly acceptable) former departure tax, now called a service fee will not take place until 1st February 2007 and then be hidden in the overall ticket price.

    Of course it was far too simple for the common director that sits on both the board of GAIA Inc., and the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association to advise the BHTA (and perhaps the BTA at the same time) so then could jointly agree a national policy and implement it.

    Instead, the tourism partners who we are led to believe formulate policy decisions in the national interest don’t talk about it until after the rest of us discover through the media.

    Then belatedly when all the damage is done, they leap in and supposedly rectify poor channels of communicaton with retroactive damage control.

    Is this another trolley situation?

    Order the trolleys,
    have them delivered,
    place them in the terminal
    and then talk to the redcaps!

    Its just as well that there are some of us left brave enough to ask questions.

  14. Pingback: Barbados Airport Exit Tax: Has Partial Sense Prevailed? « Barbados Free Press

  15. De Orginal

    Are you sure this is not a stay until after elections ?Just like the rise in bus fares…….. another red herring testing the waters before implementation.

  16. Mr M Dearden

    My wife and I could not believe our UK travel agent requesting a further BDS$55 on top of our already paid for air fare – our first thoughts were the UK travel agent was on the make, but no, it’s Grantley Adams! What great PR and Turn-off this is. We may try elsewhere after this (usual) annual visit. Is this what Barbados wants?
    M Dearden UK

  17. Hants

    Mr.Dearden, don’t punish the good Bajan people because of the stupidity of greedy Executives.

    Instead of spending time trying to cut costs through better and mor efficient management they are taking the easy way out and adding an increase of 140%.

    In the meantime the shop assistants that serve you are making $200 per week.

    We need you to continue visiting our Island and value your visits.

    Hopefully by the time you are ready to go on holiday next year the GAIA management would have come to their senses and reduce or remove this unreasonable tax increase.

  18. William Harriss

    My wife and I retired to St.Vincent and visit Barabados once a month to shop for the day. Many of our expat friends do the same thing. The tax hasn’t just doubled we are now charged if in transit or just there for the day. We had a party the other night and all our friends have decided to boycott Barbados. This will affect the shops and stores from day visitors and the small hotels for overnighters. What a rip off, sheer stupidity and greed. You certainly won’t get any of my hard earned cash from now on.

  19. Anonymous

    I travel to Barbados fairly often and you now have provided me with another excuse to go somewhere else. I resent the increase be it 5 or 100%. I would sure like to see my salary go up by 100% in the blink of an eye.

  20. Adrian Loveridge

    Mr Harriss..

    Please don’t blame the ordinary Barbadian or those of us dedicated to building and improving tourism.
    Blame it on the the board of the Grantely Adams International Airport Inc., who among other things, orders, pays for and takes delivery of buses which months later are considered unsuitable for the purpose they were acquired for and then orders another four buses.

    Blame it on ‘our’ Goverment who allowed them to increase the airport service fee (previous called a departure tax when said Government was collecting it) by 140% and then to impose it on children, (previously exempt), 2-12 years and also on an estimated 1 million intransit passengers.

    Part of this estimated annual BDS$80 million windfall will go to replacing the buses, fixing the leaking roof, paying for the trolleys etc.

    Never mind that this double taxation (sorry service fee) will disuade thousands of people like yourselves to visit other Caribbean territories for short periods of time and virtually destroy the only really growth Barbados has experienced from its principal markets, ie: Intra Caribbean travel.

  21. Bajanboy

    I for one thought that the service fee should be charged on intransit passengers, but at a reduced rate. Now that they are charging it at the full rate, the airport will be raking it over $120 million from the service fee alone, based on the 2 million plus passengers who pass through the facility every year. Then there is revenue from landing fees, shop rentals, office rentals, parking fees etc. I cannot believe it will cost that much to operate the facility so it will be intersting to see how much money goes back to the consolidated fund every year.

    As for Mr. Harriss, enjoy your shopping in Trinidad from now on.

  22. Anonymous

    Another clever Tourism ploy by the Barbados Government. Thanks in advance for the info, you have seen the last of me ( and my friends).

  23. Delisle Gibbons

    This is totally ridiculous, if the Government want to raise more revenue, they should first look at ways to cut their wasteful spending. Start by taking away those $100,000 plus BMW’s that ministers and other officials drive and opt for more economical cars. You are representatives of the people and should show some humility, after all its the taxpayers’ money you’re spending (wasting) In the state government where I live (New Jersey) officials drive very modest cars and only for business, they drive their own cars on their own time.

  24. Jerome Hinds

    Delisle Gibbons,

    I know how this story IRKS you…!

    But this is life under Owen Arthur’s REPUBLIC…!

    The man is VERY powerful….he says HE can move HEAVEN & EARTH…!

    Under Owen Arthur we are VERY close to BEING another ZIMBABWE in the Caribbean….!

    After the next general election…OWEN says when he gets his 4 LOVE..things will be COMPLETE…!

    Too bad by then No ONE would be able to leave and join you in New Jersey….!

    It is called a STATE within a STATE…!

    A very sad….STATE…!!