Photo credit: www.hideout.ch

An increase in Britain’s Air Passenger Duty (APD) is expected to cause greater problems for Dominica’s hotel industry, Simon Walsh  president of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association has said.

Travellers from British airports are now paying heavy taxes to fly to Caribbean destinations. The tax increase is said to be as high as 94 percent.

With arrivals from the United Kingdom making up only 6 to 7 percent of visitor arrivals in Dominica, the impact of the tax hikes, is not expected to hit hard here; but Walsh says hotels in Dominica, continue to be challenged by low occupancy rates and air access and the increased air tax will exacerbate the situation.

“It’s just one more problem that we’re having in the hotel industry,” he said. “It’s very, very challenging because the constraints that we’re facing are constraints that we have no control over, and that’s air access. There’s nothing a hotel can really do to improve the air access situation.”

According to Walsh it is often difficult for a hotel to get groups of twenty into Dominica, “and when they’re challenged and they find out how difficult it is strategically, they’ll often choose other destinations.”

British authorities say the measure was put in place to tax airlines’ carbon emissions. Caribbean leaders have argued that it will be damaging to Caribbean tourism since most of the region’s economies dependent heavily on visitors from the United Kingdom.