One Way Barbados to St. Lucia = BDS$93.73 in taxes, plus US$16.75 Fuel & Insurance Surcharge
Book a month in advance and the taxes on a ONE-WAY ticket with LIAT to St. Lucia from Barbados amount to BDS$93.73 alone, and that doesn’t include the US$16.75 fuel and insurance surcharge.
Why is it that the Government is calling on the private sector tourism industry to protect employment and safeguard jobs and yet they appear to be deaf to the overwhelming calls to reduce taxes on intra regional travel?
Despite the Caribbean currently being the third largest source of long stay visitors to Barbados, and this could well change due to restricted air travel caused by the Swine Flu epidemic, it still is treated as the ‘Cinderella’ of our major markets.
With ongoing subsidies of up to US$300 per passenger, plus all the extra costs associated with the Best of Barbados programme in the United States, the least per capita BTA marketing spend is on the Caribbean, despite it producing the highest return on investment.
Prior to being revoked as a Director of the Barbados Tourism Authority, I repeatedly asked, (and it is minuted), for empirical evidence of the economical justification for the Best of Barbados programme. Sadly it was never forthcoming.
It is also difficult to understand why any organisation would the sell a substantial percentage of a product at below cost, especially in a market that has not even kept abreast of inflation for seven consecutive years, when other markets are performing better.
Before we start to see the closure of yet more tourism partners, I urge our Minister of Tourism and his counterparts in the entire Caribbean to take a look at how a reduction in taxes could greatly assist some of them staying in business.
30th April 2009