Cut the tax!

Bridgetown, Barbados — A top Grenada tourism official has called on regional ministers of finance to cut the taxes currently levied on regional air transportation, at least for a trial period.

Rudy Grant, Chief Executive Officer of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA), made the suggestion during a press conference called in Barbados to promote travel to the neighbouring Spice Isle.

While complaining about the high cost of regional air travel on the whole, Grant, who is Barbadian, said “every effort should be made to look at the level of taxation and to encourage more regional travel”.

“There are some persons, and I feel that way as well, that we do have to look at seeing how the level of taxes with respect to regional taxes (on travel) can be reduced,” he told reporters as he echoed some of the concerns raised by businessman Robert Pitcher and others who have repeatedly complained that they were simply too high.

However, Grant, who is a former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) senator, went one step further to suggest that the rate of taxes could be lowered for an unspecified trial period.

“It is important that we look at the level of taxation and maybe one of the things that we have to seek to implement is a trial period, because I know that the ministers of finance from our respective destinations would be concerned as to any loss in revenue but that loss could very well be made up with the number of additional persons who travel and the spending which will be done in our respective destinations. That of course… I think it is an important issue to look at,” he said.

However, in an interview with Barbados TODAY last year, Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler warned that before there could be any such adjustment, a range of matters would have to be considered, including the cost of aviation fuel, wages and the volume of passengers.

Currently, the level of tax also varies from country to country. For instance, between Barbados and Grenada where regional airline LIAT currently operates a direct service twice daily included in the breakdown of the taxes is a security surcharge of US$1.25; a BGI passenger service charge US$27.50; a BGI security fee US$3.20; a US$10 service fee; a Grenada facilitation charge of US$7.41; a Grenada ACI charge of US$7.50 and BGI ticket tax US$11.38.

Taxes are also applied on the return leg of the journey in the form of a Grenada bag screen fee US$3.70; a US$1.25 security surcharge; a US$1.50 Passenger Facility Charge; a US$6 Grenada concourse fee; a US$22.23 Grenada Svc and security fee; a US$10 service fee and a BGI ticket tax of US$11.38.

In all, the departure taxes and fees for the outbound journey totalled US$68.24 while the taxes and fees for the return flight totalled $63.56 making for a total cost of US$261.80 for the cheapest ticket.

(Reproduced from the Barbados Today online newspaper)

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