by Jason Harper
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Barbados government has reduced its airport service charge by 50%, in a move designed to reduce the cost of intra-regional travel.
The airport service charge is currently set at BDS$70 for travellers to CARICOM states and BDS$140 for travellers to other regional destinations, as well as international travel.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Lisa Cummins told a media briefing on Tuesday that this move is to make Barbados more competitive.
“What we have started to do is to look at the tourism sector as comprehensively as we can, both structurally as well as from a price competitiveness perspective. So we are preparing, and we have had the first draft of the papers being sent back for some further additions, [to] look at what is the price sensitivity of the Barbados tourism product, relative to our competitors,” Cummins said.
Barbados joins Antigua and Barbuda, in slashing airport taxes for regional travellers by 50 per cent. Travellers to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and the islands of the French Antilles, Dutch Antilles, British Antilles, US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico will benefit from this change.
The tax reduction strategy forms part of a larger review and analysis by the Mottley administration designed to gain insights and data on Barbados’ Tourism product as the island grapples with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its most profitable industry.
“That includes a range of analyses – how many flights are coming into the region by country and Barbados per day; where are they coming from; what is the cost of those flights; what taxes are applied in each country; what are the public health measures which are new; how do they layer further costs on intra-regional travel; and, ultimately, how does that create a competitive or uncompetitive position for Barbados.”
Barbados Tourism expects a rebound of sorts for the 2021 Tourism season after being added to the United Kingdom’s green list. Following the addition to the green list, Barbados witnessed a 400% increase in travel bookings to the country.