Chief Executive Officer of the Dominica Air and Seaport Authority (DASPA), Benoit Bardouille has said that the ‘passenger facility charge’ of US$10 for persons entering Dominica from any seaport of entry which was scheduled to begin on April 2nd 2019, has taken effect.
He said passengers have not contributed directly to DASPA since 1992.
“In a number of countries, you have that charge being put. It is more less for services because if you look [at] what is being paid to us from the ferry, one ferry pays to DASPA something like EC$225 and those charges have been in place since 1992. There has never been a change in terms of the ferry charges to Dominica and the passengers themselves have not contributed anything directly to DASPA,” he said.
He added, “Obviously. DASPA has to provide services both at the airport and seaport for those passengers utilizing the facilities and if you realize you have charges being paid by persons on departure but that is in terms of embarkation tax… and so on. What we are saying is that new charge is merely going to DASPA in terms of services being offered to the passengers.”
He said funding is required for the upkeep of both of the airports as well as the seaports.
Meantime, President of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA) Marvlyn Alexander James said members of DHTA are concerned that this increase will impact the cost of travel to Dominica and have a negative impact on visitor arrivals.
“Our recovery is fragile and we must do everything we can to protect the competitiveness of our sector,” she stated.
“Such an increase will have an impact, particularly as other destinations serviced by the Ferry do not impose taxes at such a high level. We are already challenged by the disproportionately high taxes of our regional airlines, at times representing up to 50% of the cost of an airline ticket.”
DHTA calls on the Government and DASPA to review its tax framework at the country’s air and sea ports with a view to securing the sector’s future competitiveness.