24 July 2009
UK Government agrees tax measure Caribbean
sees as discriminatory
On July 21 Britain's Finance Bill received Royal assent and in so doing
passed into law changes to Air Passenger Duty (APD) that will result in
travellers to the Caribbean from the UK from November paying more in
tax than those going to almost any part of the US.
SThe APD is a measure aimed at taxing aviation's carbon emissions.
Originally introduced by the UK Government in 1994 it imposed a flat
rate tax on all passengers departing from UK airports at varying levels
depending on the class of travel. However, last November the UK announced that it was
introducing four APD distance-related bands. For the Caribbean they proposed that anyone
travelling in economy/coach from the UK will pay 25 per cent more in tax from 1 November
2009 and 87 per cent more in tax from 1 November 2010 with higher rates of tax applying
in other classes of travel.
The measure has the effect of discriminating in favour of the US over the Caribbean 'for
reasons of administrative ease'. It does so by determining that all of the US and Hawaii
(although not the USVI or Puerto Rico which are considered Caribbean) is 'closer' to London
than all of the Caribbean.
It is seen by Caribbean Governments as particularly damaging to the region in economic
terms at a time of dramatically falling visitor arrivals as a result of the global recession;
especially as the UK is the leading tourist market for many Caribbean nations and because
many of the region's newer visitors have to transit London. It is also regarded as particularly
damaging to the interest of the Caribbean Diaspora in the United Kingdom who visit friends
and family frequently.
Although the Finance Bill has now become law and APD
banding will come into force in November, according to
Caribbean Governments, Diaspora organizations, Caribbean
diplomatic representatives, the Caribbean Tourism
Organisation and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism
Association, the battle is far from over. They note that the
British Treasury Minister responsible promised MPs in a debate
in the House of Commons on July 9 to instruct her officials to look further at the issue of the
banding disparity between the US and the Caribbean.
They believe that if pressure is maintained, a change in banding or the actual rate proposed
might be possible in the next finance bill. In practical terms this would mean encouraging
the British Government to address the issue in its November budget statement which
establishes the UK Government's approach to the budget for the year 2010-11, the period
when the most swinging increases in the APD will be introduced.
(Pictures: Top, Alistair Darling MP, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer; bottom, Diane Abbott MP, who has
spoken out in support of the Caribbean on this issue)
Virgin Atlantic's Richard Branson says the UK
Government's Tax Increases on aviation are
out of control
Sir Richard Branson (pictured), President of Virgin Atlantic, has
warned that the UK Government's plans to increase taxes on air passengers are out of
control and will hurt passengers, the aviation industry and developing regions such as the
Caribbean and Africa.
The Caribbean Council
1 April 31 July, 2009
Living Ancestors Exhibition, London
25-26 July, 2009
Caribfest Family Fun Day, Milton
30 31 July, 2009
International Food Safety
Conference: "Food Safety and
Security ...the Future", Jamaica
30 July, 2009 & 31 July, 2009
Professional Service Providers and
the Economic Partnership
Agreement. What's in it for you?,
5 August, 2009
China-Caribbean Business Dialogue,
30 August, 2009
Birmingham Sports and Cultural Day
featuring Malcolm Marshall Memorial
Cricket Cup, Birmingham, UK
25 August, 2009
Caribbean Development Aid, London
4-6 May, 2010
Caribbean Hotel and Tourism
Investment Conference, Puerto Rico
For information on any of the above
events please contact
This newsletter is sponsored by:
In 2009, Virgin Atlantic celebrates
25 years of flying. In this time it has
become the largest scheduled airline
between Europe and the Caribbean,
carrying 825,000 passengers on its
ten Caribbean routes last year.
Virgin Atlantic flies to Antigua,
Barbados, Grenada, Havana,
Kingston, Montego Bay, St Lucia
and Tobago from London Gatwick
and to Barbados and St Lucia from
For more details and to make
bookings, please visit www.virgin-
Virgin Atlantic has announced that all of its e-tickets issued from today onwards would be carrying messages criticising the unjust tax
increase by the UK Government, and asking passengers to visit a new information website www.virainatlantic.com/uniusttax so they
can protest to their local MP about the increases.
Sir Richard Branson commented:
"Air Passenger Duty is one of the most unjust taxes out there. The UK Government has been quietly increasing APD by huge amounts
and claiming it is an environmental tax. Yet, there's not a shred of evidence to suggest the 2billion plus currently raised is going
towards environmental or sustainable projects.
"The increases will hurt passengers, the airline industry and developing regions such as the Caribbean and Africa which rely on the
airline industry to power their economies, and enable family and friends based in the UK to visit loved ones."
AiP.. bwey ,-. Virgin Atlantic supports proposals for a global carbon emissions trading scheme involving
all airlines, being proposed at this December's Copenhagen Summit. The proceeds from
the scheme will go towards finding clean energy solutions.
Virgin Atlantic has set up a mini web site specifically to address the issue
The graph on the left (courtesy of Virgin Atlantic) demonstrates the price increase on
flights to the Caribbean.
The Caribbean Tourism Organisation and Caribbean Governments have with the Caribbean
Diaspora been lobbying hard in recent months to highlight the disadvantage the revised banding will place them at when it is
implemented in November. Under the new scheme, APD on flights to Florida will be less than that for flights to Cuba, which is only
some 90 miles away.
In a recent editorial, the Jamaica Observer has called for CARICOM to join Virgin and British Airways in their lobbying efforts claiming
that "this tax will have a deleterous effect on travel from the UK to the Caribbean, which last year based on Caribbean Tourism
Organisation data totalled 1.24 million with an estimated spend of 1.45 billion".
"The effects of the global economic crisis on the Caribbean have elevated the importance of tourism to this region. Therefore, all
legitimate efforts to secure foreign exchange inflows must be pursued aggressively by our governments and should be embraced by
the peoples of the region", said the editorial.
The issue has attracted commentary from well known UK broadcaster Floella Benjamin, who on 20 July wrote a piece on the issue in
the Guardian Newspaper.
Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference
4-6 May, 2010, Puerto Rico
The Conference is intended to inform, enlighten and to provide time for networking experiences for
CARIBBEAN HOTEL & TOURISM
INVESTMENT CONFERENCE the delegates to conduct their business face-to-face while at the conference.
Highlights business and Delegates will be able to choose between a wide variety of Breakout Sessions, Development Track
investment opportunities Workshops and Plenary Sessions which will deal with what is and will be in the industry in the
in the Caribbean region. Leading experts will provide information on the outlook for investment in the region, new
trends and opportunities, and solutions to challenges in development and ownership. There will be
many opportunities such as the luncheons, opening reception, networking reception and the closing dinner to meet and exchange
ideas with fellow delegates, speakers, dignitaries and colleagues. The Sponsors' Exhibit will also afford direct contact with
representatives of our sponsoring companies and will be open throughout the Conference.
Who should attend?
If you are an investor, hotel owner, lender, hotel chain executive, developer, financial advisor, mortgage broker, real estate agent,
lawyer, designer, architect, tourism official, timeshare developer, government official you should attend CHTIC! The CHTIC 2010 event
will be in Puerto Rico in May.
For more information please visit http.//www.caribbeanhotelassociation.com/InvestmentConference.php
CHTA Launches 'Data Center' With Regional Statistics and Reports
The "Members Only" CHTA Data Center provides members with a valuable resource combining destination-specific statistics, surveys,
reports and other useful information on the Caribbean region and hospitality industry from a wide range of CHTA partners. Members of
the Caribbean-Britain Business Council can become Allied Members of the CHTA for a discounted rate of just 100 per annum, gaining
members access to data, industry news, discounts and business listings. For more information on thisspecialofferplease contact
Stephanie Whittle stephanie. whittle@caribbean-council org
Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution, by Helen Yaffe
SPublished in February 2009 by Palgrave Macmillan, this book is about Che Guevara's work as a member of the Cuban
government from 1959-1965. The book is based on six years of original research including access to previously unseen
archive materials and interviews with 50 of Che Guevara's closest colleagues and companeros. For further details please visit
JCC Conference Board & Myers, Fletcher & Gordon: Wednesday Morning Seminar
8am 9.30am, 29 July, 2009, Myers, Fletcher & Gordon, 21 East Street, Kingston, Jamaica
Topic: 'Challenges to Security Documentation'
Presenter: Lisa Russell, Attorney-At-Law
For further information please contact +001 876922-0150-1 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Forum on Police Reform: What has been achieved and what next?
5.30pm 8pm, 29 July, 2009, Knutsford Court Hotel, Kingston, Jamaica
Speakers: Hon Dwight Nelson, Minister for National Security
Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin, Commissioner of Police
Prof Gordon Shirley, Chairman of the Implementation Committee on Police reform
Moderator: Derek Jones
For more information please visit www.psoi.org
Professional Service Providers and the Economic Partnership Agreement. What's in it for you?
8.30am 5pm, 30 July, 2009, British Colonial Hilton, The Bahamas
8.30am 5pm, 31 July, 2009, Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, The Bahamas
SThe seminar will address
Market access for Caribbean service suppliers in Europe under the EPA
Implications for business strategies
Ramesh Chaitoo, Head of Services Trade Unit, CRNM
Dr Noel Watson, Trade Specialist, CRNM
Who should attend?
Accountants, Lawyers, Engineers, Tour Operators, Architects, Entertainers, Financial and Investment Service Providers
For more information please contact The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, 242 322 2145 or email@example.com
* International Food Safety Conference: "Food Safety and Security ...the Future"
30 31 July, 2009, Knutsford Court Hotel, Kingston, Jamaica
The Caribbean region is an important world destination. Many government agencies along with the food industry share
the tasks of protecting the health of travellers and assuring the regions indigenous people also have an adequate and
safe food supply. The goal of the conference "Caribbean Food Safety and Security ... The Future" is to provide a meaningful dialogue
amongst the key stakeholders in the region for a better understanding of the threats to the Caribbean's food supply and to find
For further information please visit www.foodhvaienebureau.orq
Birmingham Sports and Cultural Day featuring Malcolm China-Caribbean Business Dialogue
Marshall Memorial Cricket Cup 5 August, 2009, Hilton Barbados
10am 9pm, 30 August, 2009, Handsworth Park, For further information please contact Escipidn Oliveira,
Hinstock Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, UK Manager Special Projects, Caribbean Export Development
This family event will feature the Sir Vivian Richards XI VS Agency on 246) 436-0578 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Guyana Trade & Investment Exposition: GuyExpo 2009 EPA Workshop and Services Mission the French
24 29 September, 2009, National Exhibition Centre, Caribbean Outermost Region
Sophia, Georgetown, Guyana 23 24 September, 2009, Martinique
For further information please contact Ms. Uchenna Gibson on For further information visit www.carib-export.com or contact
(592) 227 0653 or at aoinvest@qoinvest. ov.av Carlos Wharton, Caribbean Export Development Agency on
S (24) 436-0578 or at email@example.com
Next Issue: Please note that the next issue of the Caribbean Council Newsletter will be published
on 11 September 2009.
Cultural and Sporting Events in the Region (July and August)
17 July 1 August
24 27 July
30 July 4 August
25 July 1 August
25 July 4 August
26 July 1 August
26 July 2 August
26 July 3 August
27 July 3 August
29 July 3 August
30 July 1 August
30 July 7 August
30 July 9 August
1 3 August
2 6 August
5 9 August
15 August 15 Nov.
Tobago Heritage Festival, Tobago
Berbice Expo and Trade Fair, Guyana
Culturama, Nevis, www.culturama.net
Jazz in July, Trinidad
Hampton Games, Trinidad
Puerto Rico Salsa Congress, Puerto Rico
Santo Domingo Merengue Festival, Dominican Republic
Tour de Yoles Rondes Regatta, Martinique
Carriacou Regatta, Carriacou, www.carriacouregatta.com
Annual Turks and Caicos Music and Cultural Festival, Turks and Caicos Islands, www.musicfestival.tc
Great Fete weekend, Tobago
Canouan Carnival, Canouan
Cropover Festival, Barbados, www.cropoverfestival.com
Anguilla Summer Festival, Anguilla
USVI St Thomas Golf Open, USVI, www.mahoganyrungolf.com
Heineken Cup Boat Race, Anguilla
Curacao Salsa Tour, Curacao
Grenada Carnival, Grenada, www.spicemasgrenada.com
Tour Cycliste International de Guadeloupe, Guadeloupe
Curacao Culture, Cuisine and heritage Experience, Curacao
Banks Barbados International Hockey Festival, Barbados
(List compiled from liat.com and onecaribbean.org)