JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says the changes to the Air Passenger Duty (APD), which take effect on May 1, will have a positive impact on the country’s tourism.
  • The changes, announced by the United Kingdom (UK) Chancellor of the Exchequer last year, will lower taxes on airline tickets out of the UK, thereby reducing travel costs.
  • This will encourage increased travel by UK nationals to destinations such as Jamaica.

Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says the changes to the Air Passenger Duty (APD), which take effect on May 1, will have a positive impact on the country’s tourism.

The changes, announced by the United Kingdom (UK) Chancellor of the Exchequer last year, will lower taxes on airline tickets out of the UK, thereby reducing travel costs.  This will encourage increased travel by UK nationals to destinations such as Jamaica.

The Minister, who was making his contribution to the 2015/16 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 14, noted for example that “a family of four will have savings of about £198 on their tickets, which adds up to about US$320.”

“So this will have a serious impact on us (and)… augurs well for the future development of this market,” he said.

The APD reform will see changes to the band system with all long-haul flights to now carry the same, lower, band B tax rate. This means that persons travelling to the Caribbean will pay the same as if they were travelling to the United States.

The APD rate for children 12 years and under will also be abolished, which will make family travel from the UK significantly less expensive. In 2016, the APD on children under the age of 16 will also be abolished.

Minister McNeill, in welcoming the changes, noted that the UK is an important market for Jamaica. He informed that visitor arrivals out of the UK grew by 4.5 per cent and 17.1 per cent, for 2013 and 2014, respectively, and “already, for this year (2015), we are up 24 per cent.”

Meanwhile, Dr. McNeill announced that this year, Jamaica will, for the first time, serve as the home port for a “record-breaking three cruise ships”, which will dock in Montego Bay.

The vessels that will be accommodated include: the ‘Louis Cristal’, ‘Thompson Dream’, and ‘AIDA Bella’.

Dr. McNeill informed the House that the ships will home port “with all the concomitant goods and services required to tender those vessels”, while advising that plans are in place for Jamaica to welcome a fourth vessel for home porting in 2016.