Caribbean governments should cut air passenger taxes if they “wish to be competitive” when tourism resumes, according to Peter Cerda, regional vice president for the Americas at the IATA.
The state of air travel right now is “as bad as one could expect” amid the coronavirus pandemic, he said, and airlines will need government support to resume any form of service.
“Governments can help the international carriers continue to operate there [by] lowering passenger fees and taxation fees,” Cerda said. “One of the biggest problems that we’ve always faced in Caribbean is the Caribbean is a very highly taxed market. And it’s always taxed on the airline side, on the passenger, consumer side. And this will be a big challenge for the Caribbean once we are able to escape from this crisis.”
He also suggested that in the early stages of the resumption of air travel those who do fly would “rather remain close to home.”
Cerda was speaking on the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s COVID-19: The Unwanted Visitor podcast.
“Because of the financial crisis that will follow the apprehensions that the consumer has, if the Caribbean does not position itself – that it is competitive, it has a good level of service in terms of medical services, it has the right procedures being implemented – these passengers may decide to go somewhere else, somewhere else in Central America, Mexico or even see in the US,” Cerda said.