In a surprise development with positive repercussions to the region, Britain’s Chancellor George Osborne today announced the long-sought reform of the UK’s “odious” Air Passenger Duty, which has penalized travelers from Britain to the Caribbean with disparate tax rates since it was enacted in 2007. Reaction to the announcement has been vocal and positive, as the coverage Inside Insider details. As we go to “press” one more important comment from the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association has come across my desk that I want to share:
“The Caribbean region has finally achieved one of its goals and will be fairly taxed in comparison to a flight to the United States …Today we achieved a major victory as the playing field has been leveled,” said Richard J. Doumeng, president of CHTA.
“The disparity in the Air Passenger Duty (APD) has been a critical factor leading to the decline in arrivals from the United Kingdom to the Caribbean. With today’s announcement to a two-band system the Caribbean region will no longer be penalized,” said Jeffrey S. Vasser, CHA director general and CEO of CHTA.
The Chancellor’s rationale behind the reform is that a lower cost of flying makes it more affordable for UK families to travel overseas, said the CHTA statement, which continues: “According to the Budget: From April 1, 2015, the tax on long-haul flights between 4,001 and 6,000 miles will be reduced by £14 per person, while those over 6,000 miles will be cut by £26. The move will save a family of four £56 when visiting the Caribbean. Those flying in premium economy, business class or first class will save twice as much.”
In other important news in the region, preliminary reviews of the 2014 Duty Free Show of the Americas indicate it was an event that fostered business throughout the region with a Gala Evening that was “the best in years.” See pages 1 & 3.
Travel retailer HK Global Duty Free has signed an exclusive concession contract for its first operations in Mexico and in an airport, with its first store opening in Queretaro International Airport in June. See pages 1 & 2 for further details
Chicago O’Hare International Airport is getting ready to officially open its new Terminal 5 concession program in April, and manager Westfield has released a video sneak peek of what to expect. See page 2, and click here to view the video.
In more Orlando News, Paraguayan retailer Shopping China wins the DFNI Americas Travel Retailer of the Year Award. See page 3 for the rest of the award winners.
ASSOCIATION NEWS. The Duty Free World Council is now official and held its inaugural meeting in Orlando on March 11. Click here for a list of the organization’s objectives. And with the 2014 TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference taking place in Singapore in May, TFWA announces that it is adding 1,500 sqm of exhibition space to accommodate demand.
ASUTIL has announced that registration to obtain a Stand at the 2014 Conference taking place in Mexico City in June opened today, March 19. There is only room for nine stands and display space will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please note also that the Early Bird Registration Deadline is the end of March, with registration fees for members at US$500, and non-members at US$650. Prices after the early bird deadline on APRIL 1st will be: members US$700, and non-members US$850