LIAT chief: Blame heavy taxes
In a Nation news story today (Tuesday 12th February) under this heading, the Chief Executive Officer of LIAT is blaming regional Governments, including the three principal shareholder’s for the high intra Caribbean airfares. (Nation News link here)
Mr Darby has in my humble opinion a valid point.
Departure taxes, handling fees and other user fees have climbed to an all time high.
But let us examine an example of these fares.
Booking a month ahead and looking at the cheapest option on LIAT’s website for return flights from Barbados to St. Lucia, the fare is US$240.24.
Of this, the outward taxes and add-ons are US$55.87 and on the return leg, US$57.37.
So a total of US$113.27 or 47% of the overall airfare is made up of taxes and additional charges.
What Mr Darby fails to mention is that of the US$113.27 in add-ons, some US$28 is made up of LIAT’s own fuel and insurance surcharge.
There is no doubt that the new Minister and Tourism and all the associated agencies involved will currently be grappling with ways to redress the decline in intra regional travel.
Already many tourism industry leaders have spoken out passionately about the overall effect the decline in intra Caribbean travel is having on tourism revenue earnings and hotel occupancy especially in the critical eight long summer months.
No-one yet appears to have calculated this total loss in tourism income to each Caribbean nation, both in terms of lost Government taxes and private sector revenue against the monies generated through increased airport fees.
Clearly, if airfares are perceived as being too high as to deter people from travelling within the region, then Government’s must balance this against revenue that would have been generated by additional visitor arrivals.
12 February 2008