Barbados Airport Exit Tax Now Hits $60 Per Person!


More Evidence That Barbados Is Running Out Of Money

No matter how the politicians try to hide new taxes… by breaking them down into smaller “license fees” or by setting up government corporations to construct or manage infrastructure, and then letting the corporations charge “service fees” – its really all just taxes.

And you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, folks – because the piggy bank is empty, but the government just keeps on spending!

Our friend Adrian Loveridge isn’t fooled though – and he again questions the wisdom of a government that tries to shake-down tourists who are the very life-blood of the Barbados economy. He also questions the apparent inequity and inconsistency of government subsidies that favour large corporations over smaller, independent tourism businesses.

Take it away, Adrian…

Of course a privatised company, Grantley Adams International Airport inc., could not collect taxes, that is a Government prerogative, so the name has to be changed to a ‘service fee’.

But I wonder again if the announced increase of 140% including the additional BDS$5 (US$2.50) security charge has been thought through?

To maintain visitor arrival numbers, the Barbadian taxpayer has over the last five years been forced to pay massive subsidies of up to US$300 in the United States and UK Pounds 150 in the United Kingdom for every person booking the Best of Barbados package.

Just in the fall period of 2006 alone the 15,000 stated Brits that were expected to book this package would have cost the taxpayer BDS$8.4 million (US$4.2 million).

Based on declared average stay and spend by the Barbados Statistical Service, each subsidised Best of Barbados arrival would have had to spend more than four times what the normal visitor does for Government to recoup these subsidies in taxes.

As the mass of visitor arrival numbers are largely driven by Tour Operators or Wholesalers, I wonder if the policymakers have really thought through this massive ‘service fee’ increase?

Will those thousands of holiday makers that have already booked (and paid) for their package happily accept the departure fee increase or will they expect the tour operators to absorb it?

Based on the viability and lack of profitability of tour operators in our largest market, the UK, these companies will be very reluctant to absorb yet further costs.

And to add insult to injury, we are told this more than doubling of a departure tax is necessary to help pay for the improvements to the airport.

Huge amounts have also been spent on Bridgetown Port. Only last week a big fanfare was made over the official opening of berth number five which cost a quoted BDS$12 million (US$6 million) alone.

Will the privatised port authority also be raising ‘service fees’ to users of that facility by 140 per cent?

This would certainly assist in repaying the vast additional investment in the port and possibility help cover the recently announced additional subsidies given to the world’s largest and most profitable cruise ship company, Carnival Corporation, to prop-up passengers arrival numbers.

Adrian Loveridge

Story Links

The Nation News: From $55 To $60!
Barbados Free Press: Barbados Tourism Killer – Airport Departure Tax To Double

Photo: Grantley Adams Airport, Barbados – via MicroSoft Flight Simulator. Soon, this will be the preferred method of visiting the airport. 🙂


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

18 responses to “Barbados Airport Exit Tax Now Hits $60 Per Person!

  1. reality check

    How do you think the government is going to pay for the new $65 US million dollar loan? Bingo!!!

    yes folks its getting down to the short strokes!!!

    foreigner visitors are going to have to pay because the Barbadian citizens are beinng taxed out of existence. What happens when a very thin milk cow becomes even thinner?

  2. RC2


    No one even seems to remember that we bajans also pay VAT on that ticket (the tourist don’t). The total taxes on an average ticket is not just the $60.00 for us. It’s that plus the VAT!

  3. Mountie

    Isnt this the part where Noel MM Lynch the socalled Minister of Tourism says ” Those new departure taxes will be gone by tomorrow.”

  4. First it was the doubling of the cost of water to offset the inefficiencies of the BWA. Then the doubling of the cost of parking at the airport, with machines tending to you instead of employed people.

    Now it is the iniquitous increase in exit tax a.k.a. “airport fees” by some 140%!

    In the past there has been some logic to increases e.g. postage . No longer. Six people are employed where two could do the job and you are under orders to cover your costs, so you up the charge by whatever is needed without any good reason.

    This is plain and simple SUBSIDISED INEFFICIENCY. Government agencies can get away with it because we have no choice. This is a great way to run the country into the ground. Visitors will go elsewhere for sure.

  5. Pat

    Well it seems the government has locals and tourists both by the short and curlies.

  6. Rumplestilskin

    I guess the authorities need this money to get such necessities as the ‘arrivals info screen’ outside the arrivals hall working…it has not since the airport was ‘completed’.

    Nice big lump of concrete and still it takes one and a half to two hours to clear customs/ baggage.

    Yeah, we real firs worl’.

    What a load of baloney.

  7. Economix

    Rip rip RIP rip RIP rIp RiP rip rip rip. We are being RIPPED OFF.
    (left,right and center!)

    Clearly, it’s cheaper to go live in an African tinpot republic,
    where yuh gets ripped off – just LESS SO!

    Life keeps getting better and better in Barbados.

    So: $60 a head to excape barbados.
    A man, wife, and just two kids,
    have to pay an extra $240 Escape Tax.
    My cup runneth over!

  8. honeybee

    They got the screen and it is working fine up to the last time I was there.

    Rumplestilskin said “I guess the authorities need this money to get such necessities as the ‘arrivals info screen’ outside the arrivals hall working…it has not since the airport was ‘completed’”

  9. Dizzy Bajan

    The BLP will fly this kite and if too many people protest, Owen Arthur will emerge to put the GAIA in it’s place.

    Just before (about one day) this extra 5 dollars was unveiled I saw a strange looking Rudy Grant bumbling about the extra special security measures that they were putting in place to protect us – and he did not even hint at the increase. I thought to myself, “but Rudy look very nervous and ensure..”

    The BLP should be shame – The airport was built to bring in huge volumes of persons. The airport tax should therefore decrease with the increase volumes. I want Mr. Grant, Billie Miller and Mr. Noel Lynch (If he can find his legs that Owen Arthur ripped off) to give us those projected figures on how the tourist numbers through the airport will increase!

    It’s time for the BLP to just go.

  10. Hants

    Maybe this Government feels that as Barbados tries to move towards Most Expensive Tourist Destination status the Tax increase would not be felt by the Tourist this Government wants to attract.”The Rich and Famous”.

    They probably want us overseas Bajans to just stay where we are but keep sending the “remittances to family in Barbados”.

    Maybe they will suggest that we should vacation in Cuba or Florida and send home the money we save by not travelling to Barbados.

  11. Bajanboy

    Again I say that intransit passengers should pay something. The hundreds of thousands of such passengers (including those joining a home ported vessel here in Barbados), should pay at least 50% of the service fee.

  12. Hants

    Bajanboy nothing wrong with your theory as long as “Intransit passengers” and home ported vessels have no alternative.

    As long as these people are pleased to pay or have to pay what you charge no problem.

    No one expects to pay the same thing forever but a 140% increase is too much in 1 year.

  13. Pat

    Have intransit passengers pay a departure fee? They just will not use Barbados. Why, one of my mates at the gym cruises the Caribbean and embarks at Bridgetown. He told me last week he has never spent a day there. He was told by his agent that the island is too expensive. All he knows is the road from the airport to the harbour and back.

    When I embarked in Puerto Rico, I flew in early and spent 3 days touring the country. On my trip down from Alaska, I spent a day in Seattle and two days in Vancouver. Of course that was in 1979 and hotels were not as expensive, but still relatively priced to salaries.

  14. After a Google session I have a better idea how we will compare with our Caribbean neighbours- all shown in U.S. dollars. T&T is presently the lowest at $16 with exemption for those over 60. The highest are Belize ($41), Aruba ($36.75), and St Martin ($30). The rest are between $20-25.

    Generally Asian countries charge least ($11-18) with the notable exception of Taiwan ($76.80). South American countries are surpisingly high with Chile way out in front at $130! and a tourist country- Mexico at $50. The others are $25-40.

    Seen in this perspective we aren’t too much out of line- except…..

    With the CCME struggling to emerge, one would have thought a more enlightened approach would be taken for InterCaribbean travel. Historically we have slipped down to Port of Spain for a Carnival weekend, or across to St Lucia for a sports outing. Several trips a year have been common.

    Caribbean arrivals are the fastest growing sector in our tourism and the increased tax will not help. Surely there is a case for a Caricom rate of say US$20. It is arrant opportunism to hit us for B$60 for what is effectively local travel.

  15. Bajanboy

    It would be interesting if to see the impact that a US$10 intransit fee would have on home porting in Barbados. The cruise industry is ruthless is negotiating the best rates for everything they consume so this would never happen. So, we can add another negative impact (subsidising cruise passenger use of the airport) to the list of questionable benefits that the cruise industry provides to Barbados. As for intransit passenger connecting to their flights in Barbados, I do not think there is much choice for them, Pat. I do not mind paying the service fee. What upsets me if it is not fairly applied, or if the facility is not properly or efficiently run.

    I was at the airport this morning and the flight arrivals’ plasma display looks so pretty. Unfortunately, it repeated the same BWIA flight about 15 times in a row, the other flights were not in chronological order, and the time displayed was about 25 minutes slow. Additionally, they are using a plasma display and already the screen is displaying noticeable image burn in from displaying a static image for long periods of time. They should have used an LCD display, which does not have this problem. Why are simple things in other parts of the world so difficult to get right here?

  16. Samuel Adams

    Bcoz a minister made a deal, and many bux, on the same screens whuh now burning-in/burning-out.
    Just like how a Minister made a small fortune by ‘making the decision’ to go with Traffic Lights at all suburban Bridgetown intersections, instead of roundabouts!
    -thus saddling Bajans with traffic inefficiencies (and already Efficiency is NOT our middle name!)…for the next two decades or so.
    Thank you, Rommel?

  17. Carl Moore

    An idea that will not fly

    The elusive Concorde Visitors’ Centre — once known as the Concorde Museum — was to have opened in September, then November; now, it’s coming “during this winter tourist season”, which runs from December to April next year.

    When are we going to stop pussy-footing on this matter? Why don’t we give that legacy of Anglo-French aviation hubris back to its owner, British Airways, and spend the taxpayers’ money on a more worthwhile project?

    Since Job, we Barbadians are the most patient people God ever created. We quietly accept whatever mumbo-jumbo officialdom feeds us.

    Carl Moore

    November 24, 2006

  18. Anonymous

    you know i;ve been in barbardos and i noticed it also you need six people to do one job for me they all look like lazy asses just to go get chicken at chevette the girl was walking more slow then a lizzard and the cashiers sitting down what the hell is that if i woud be an owner trust me it wouldn;t work like that