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GRENADA | Grenda to cut travel taxes for CARICOM nationals

  • Written by Wiredja Newsdesk
  • Published in Tourism
Featured The Grenada House of Parliament in St. George, inaugurated on 21 June 2018. The Grenada House of Parliament in St. George, inaugurated on 21 June 2018.
MONTEGO BAY, July 19,– As CARICOM countries struggle resume tourism activity as part of efforts to rebuild their economies that have been hit hard by COVID-19, Grenada is looking to stimulate regional travel  by reducing the taxes on intra-regional within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell said that this is being done as the Government implements various strategies to encourage travel within the region, and said the Caribbean market must be seen as critical to the rebuilding process. To this end, he wants regional leaders to take another look at taxes on air travel within the region.

Addressing the pending liquidation of regional carrier LIAT, Mitchell said that there are other airlines which will be filling the void left by LIAT which suspended its service in April after most regional states shut down airports as part of measures aimed at containing the Coronavirus

“There are a combination of opportunities that will be available to ensure that we have, not just to replace what LIAT was bringing if it has not returned, but to have expanded opportunities,” the Prime Minister said.

“We expect with the additional transport to the individual countries in the region and the reduction of taxes in general and airport fees, in general, we will see further development of inter-island travel.”

Naming One Caribbean, SVG Airways and InterCaribbean as airlines which are about the include Grenada and other Eastern Caribbean territories to their routes, he said the reducing airline taxes has become a necessity.

“So far, some countries and we will be following suit have in fact taken the initiative to reduce the taxes on airline tickets already. We will be doing so in the not to distance future,” he said without providing the timeline for government to make such announcement.

Most airports in the region has cautiously to commercial passenger traffic since closure in late March. However, there has been little or no regional commercial air traffic as  only a few airlines are offering services, as the Eastern Caribbean has been significantly affected by the non-availability of LIAT.

While LIAT’s shareholder governments struggle to determine whether they are going to buy into the reorganization dream for the airline proposed by Antigua’s Gaston Browne, or go the full Monty of liquidation as proposed by Barbados PM, Mia Mottley, Caribbean Airlines has announced that will restart flights between Antigua, Barbados and Kingston, Jamaica beginning on July 25.

Shareholders of LIAT decided on the June 27, to put LIAT into liquidation after having received the recommendation from the airline’s board of directors meeting a few days earlier.

Antigua and Barbuda’s PM Gaston Browne has a different perspective as to how to go forward with the airlines “and is trying to see if he can get the investments to have a LIAT 2020 Ltd.” Barbados has indicated that they have no interest in Browne’s proposal.

CARICOM Chair and head responsible for transport Ralph Gonsalves,  says he is engaged in putting together, as far as is practicable, an approach to regional air transport, which would see other players involved, indicating that he has been in conversation with four airlines: Caribbean Airlines, InterCaribbean, One Caribbean and SVG Air.

Gonsalves indicated that he is focusing on the four airlines owned by people within the English-speaking Caribbean inspite of the fact that there are two others, out of North America and there are two in the French Antilles who are also interested in LIAT’s routes.

In the meantime Inter Caribbean airline, which is known for its services in the northern Caribbean and one of the airlines with which the  Government has finalised an agreement, has announced that it will be expanding its services to the Eastern Caribbean.

The regional Civil Aviation Authority which is based in Antigua and Barbuda has already  provided the necessary approval for these regional airlines to expand to other islands.

These regional carriers are expected to make Barbados their hub for the Eastern Caribbean service.

  • Countries: Grenada