Increasing departure tax may affect tourism – Phillips
Jerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter
Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Dr Peter Phillips, says increasing the departure tax on airline tickets may hurt Jamaica’s tourism industry.
The government is moving the departure tax from $20 to US$35 effective June 1.
The tax is estimated to generate $5.5 billion this financial year for the government.
However, Dr Phillips says the increase is a bad move as it will make Jamaica uncompetitive in comparison to its counterparts in the region.
He stressed that taxes and fees charged on airline tickets by Jamaica are already high.
Phillips says an increase in the departure tax may serve to drive away visitors and airlines, especially low-cost carriers.
According to him, the increase in the departure tax also stands to affect investments in the tourism sector.
Dr Phillips made the comments in his contribution to the Budget debate in the House of Representatives yesterday.
The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association has expressed concerns about the proposed tax increase saying it may affect Jamaica’s competitive advantage as well as future growth.