Tourist Slams New $10 Tax Proposal

Thursday, 28 January 2010 00:00 News Editor
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The suggestion of adding $10 onto ticket prices to The Bahamas and to the Caribbean is being protested by a frequent flyer to the islands, who argues the move could cripple this nation's tourism industry further.

Considering the proximity to the U.S., the aviation insider said it was already discouraging that flying to The Bahamas isn't already one of the least expensive places to fly in the region, and asserts moving to tack more money onto that travel expense will only add to the current visitor arrival woes.

"Flying in to Nassau, with a three week notice, is one of the more expensive places to fly, so when I hear about [another] $10 [increase], while not significant in and by itself, in total the increase just keeps making the Bahamas too expensive," the concerned visitor said in an e-mail to Guardian Business. "I was able to take my entire family to Bermuda for less than what just the price of the airline tickets would have cost for me to take them to the Bahamas.

"Please let those decision makers that impose all the fees what impact they are having on the US traveling market.. .trust me, I see and here from many travelers."

His statement comes as the head of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Enrique De Marchena Kaluche suggests a proposal for a $10 ticket tax on all flights winging into the region was key to generating millions of dollars for marketing the region.

"The most important thing right now is the development of a marketing fund for the region, as well as for each and every individual destination," said the CHTA president at the annual Caribbean Marketplace conference earlier in the month. "The governments have so far not been able to agree on how the funds for a Caribbean marketing plan should be generated.

"We suggest that a $10 ticket tax on all airline tickets for incoming passengers could be effectively split to enable individual governments to use $5 of each tax for its own destination marketing, while allocating the other $5 to a sustainable marketing fund for the region."

It's a tax hike, Guardian Business understands, that Tourism officials are not keen on implementing.

The CHTA is now strongly urging the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to revisit the recommendation for the tax on airline tickets to the region, using precedent already set by the Travel Industry Association. That organization recently implemented a $10 ticket tax to fund its worldwide U.S. marketing and promotion efforts.

Source: The Nassau Guardian