BRIDGETOWN, Barbados –The Citizens Against High Intra-Regional Caribbean Travel Taxes has announced that its Change.org petition has reached 10,000 signatures. The issue of Taxes, Fees and Charges (TFCs) in air transport has been a source of controversy globally.
Regional travel is the platform for growth and sustaining education, commerce, the creative and tourism sectors among many other industries but high and increasing TFCs have contributed to the decline in intra-regional travel in recent years. When added to the basic fares of carriers TFCS serve to make overall ticket prices markedly more expensive since the majority is passed onto passengers.
Numerous studies have predicted that if governments were to reduce TFCs, intra-regional Caribbean travel would increase significantly with attendant improvement in the economic performance of those countries that reduce TFCs. The greater the increase in the gross domestic product (GDP), the more likely there will be a positive net financial impact, where additional tax revenue generated by increasing economic activity would rival the foregone TFC revenue.
In other words, over time the increase in travel will likely see governments collect other tax revenue similar to the amount lost by reducing TFCs. This would manifest in the form of revenue increases from existing taxes in the economy (e.g, Value Added Tax (VAT)/Sales Tax).
Beyond economic considerations, at the heart of fostering regional integration is the need for rich personal and cultural exchanges among individuals across our islands and mainland territories. It is in consideration of these and other factors that this campaign seeks to raise public consciousness, galvanize solidarity with individuals and civil society groups and to work in partnership with regional governments to act in the best interest of the region by reducing the exorbitant taxes which had a damaging impact on regional travel.
The organisation hopes to enlist the support of the media and citizens across the Caribbean and in the diaspora to help them reach their next target of 15,000 signatures.