The tourism industry needs hard information to convince policymakers
It was scarcely surprising to hear that when Caribbean foreign ministers met in January with their British counterpart the most divisive issue was the UK’s discriminatory tax on travel, Air Passenger Duty.
According to those present, far more revealing was the extent to which Caribbean foreign ministers spoke in this context with knowledge and conviction about the central importance of tourism to regional growth and development. It demonstrated that the vital importance of tourism as an industry had been understood. It suggested too that ministers, if well briefed, were prepared to deploy arguments in defence of the industry in much the same way as they had in the 1990s when the region fought European plans to bring to an end preference for sugar, bananas, rice and rum.