The entrance to the Grantley Adams International Airport in Christ Church, Barbados. (Photo: GIS Barbados)

Barbados to cut airport tax in half to attract more regional travellers

The entrance to the Grantley Adams International Airport in Christ Church, Barbados. (Photo: GIS Barbados)

In a move to create greater tourist activity on the island, the authorities in Barbados say they will reduce airport taxes by as much as 50 per cent.

Announcing the Cabinet-approved decision, the country’s minister of tourism, Lisa Cummins, said the move was particularly aimed at boosting intra-regional tourism and make the destination more competitive as the country also moves to rebuild the sector, which, like many of its Caribbean counterparts, was badly affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Grantley Adams International Airport Inc’s (GAIA) deputy CEO, Terry Layne, shows Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins some of the safety protocols in place at GAIA while Permanent Secretary Donna Cadogan and officials look on. (Photo: Sheena Forde-Craigg/BGIS)

“What we have started to do is to look at tourism as comprehensively as we can, both structurally as well as from a price competitiveness perspective.

“Cabinet has agreed that there is to be a 50 per cent reduction in airport service charge for regional travellers. That brings us in line to what you have been hearing coming out of other markets. Particularly, one market that has already announced it is Antigua, where there is a 50 per cent reduction. Barbados, at the level of Cabinet, has also agreed to that significant reduction,” she said in response to questions posed by local media this week during a briefing to provide update on the industry.

As a first step, the minister said that a comprehensive review of the country’s pricing structure within the industry would be undertaken shortly.

A view of the tarmac at Grantley Adams Airport. (Photo: YouTube)

“We are looking at what is the price sensitivity of the Barbados tourism product relative to our competitors. What that means is that we have to look at how many flights are coming into the region by country per day, where they’re coming from, cost of these flights, taxes applied in each country along with the public health measures to ultimately compare how these create a competitive or uncompetitive position for Barbados before making changes to current structures,” she further stated.

The Government has, however, indicated that this measure will last for six months in the first instance.