CaribDirect announces the launch of the CaribDirect Seminar Series aimed at providing a platform for the discussion of pertinent and topical issues relevant to the Caribbean. These seminars will be structured for the benefit of 3rd and 4th generation Caribbeans in the United Kingdom.

Two of the UK’s leading Caribbean news organisations have joined forces to inform and rally the Caribbean community and holidaymakers travelling to the region to get behind the ‘A Fair Tax on Flying’ campaign and lobby the government on Air Passenger Duty (APD) and the disproportionate, and unfair impact it is having on Caribbean tourism.

(L-R) Carl Pheasey BA, Lindsay Ingram Newmont Travel, Moderator Paul Gladstone Reid, Carol Hay CTO, David Jessop Caribbean Council and Luke Pollard ABTA

The Caribbean News Network (CANNTV) and CaribDirect.com believe that to bring about any change in the government’s thinking on APD, pressure has to be brought to bear from people travelling to the Caribbean to visit family and on holiday. But to do so, they need to be made aware of the issue of APD and how it affects their pocket.

David F. Roberts, CEO CaribDirect.com said: “APD has had a detrimental effect on the Caribbean. I have heard of people travelling to the continent to get flights to the Caribbean because it still works out cheaper than flying from the UK.  It is an unfair tax and the community needs to be made aware and lobby their respective MP and the government to bring about a desirable change.”

Founder Sankofa TV, Ron Belgrave voicing a valuable contribution

Luke Pollard, Head of Public Affairs at ABTA, who is supporting the campaign said:  “The UK has incredibly close ties with the Caribbean, but the Government’s policy on aviation tax is threatening these close bonds by pricing people out of visiting their families, as well as impacting on the jobs of those in the islands who depend on British holidaymakers.

A family of four visiting the Caribbean will pay £324 tax in Air Passenger Duty if travelling in economy which increases to an eye-watering £628 in other classes. This has more than doubled since 2009 with more increases scheduled for 2013.

In addition the illogical structure of APD, which is supposed to be based on distance traveled, sees flights to and from the Caribbean being taxed at a higher rate than often much longer flights to the USA, including Hawaii. We encourage the Caribbean community and everyone who loves the islands to e-mail a letter voicing their opposition to the Government.”

Support for the campaign has also been received from British Airways, Virgin Atlantic the Caribbean Council; Newmont Travel, Caribbean Tourism Organisation, the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission, and Mr Paul Gladstone-Reid MBE world renowned classical composer / producer. All of these companies have voiced their dissent against APD.

An attentive audience

Virgin Atlantic has chosen to absorb the cost of APD themselves, rather than pass it on to the customer and Colm Lacy, BA’s head of commercial at Gatwick Airport insists: “APD has damaged the leisure business and the Caribbean is unfairly penalised, which is why we continue to talk about it.”

The campaign kicked off with an APD Seminar produced by Caribbean News Network (CANNTV) and CaribDirect.com at the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission on Thursday 29th November 2012.

The panel which comprised Carl Pheasey from BA, Lindsay Ingram from Newmont Travel, Moderator Paul Gladstone Reid MBE, Carol Hay from CTO, David Jessop from Caribbean Council and Luke Pollard from ABTA highlighted the ills, idiocy, and unfairness of the APD to the Caribbean. For details of the outcomes of the APD Seminar click OUTCOMES FROM APD SEMINAR.

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NOTES TO EDITOR’S:

1.    CaribDirect.com is your one stop shop for news, views, politics, entertainment and much more from the Caribbean. Founded and managed by dedicated Caribbean nationals in partnership with the Caribbean Enterprise Network, we endeavour to showcase the latest from the multicultural Caribbean Diaspora with island and country specific blog updates on a daily basis, as well as coverage of contemporary technology, fashion, sports and business topics. For more information contact: editor@caribdirect.com

2.    Caribbean News Network (CANNTV) is the UK’s only television channel providing news current affairs from, and about the Caribbean.  CANNTV provides a much needed platform to ventilate and brainstorm issues of salience to the UK’s Caribbean community and peoples of the region. It is provides a platform interchange of news, information, ideas and opinion from the Caribbean Diaspora and the region. For more information contact: info@caribbeannewsnetwork.co.uk

3.    The Fair Tax on Flying campaign is an alliance of airlines, airports, trade associations and leisure and business organisations, is calling on the Government to make UK aviation tax fairer. The UK currently pays the highest level in Europe. For more information contact: www.afairtaxonflying.org

4.    The campaign is also supported by Caribbean Enterprise Network (CENUK) an umbrella organisation for the global promotion and development of small to medium sized Caribbean businesses. For more information contact: www.cenuk.net