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Aug 10, 2017

B.T.I.A. Says Gov’t Must Scrap Departure Tax

The Belize Tourism Industry Association today issued a stinging release against the Government and in support of Tropic Air. The carrier last week announced plans to suspend three of its international flights to Chetumal and Merida in Mexico and San Pedro Sula in Honduras. The flights had been established five years ago, but the organization says the recent imposition of a higher departure tax through the PACT Act has made the flights unprofitable. The tax was raised to one hundred and eleven Belize dollars as part of the Government’s efforts to raise revenue. The Association basically says “We told you so,” as in March following the announcement of the expanded tax in the Budget, it lobbied to have Government drop the idea due to concerns about negative impact on competition regionally and internationally.  The B.T.I.A. in its release once again calls on government to repeal the amendment to the PACT Act that resulted in the increase, stating, “Tropic Air’s decision is sufficient evidence that tourism arrivals may be negatively impacted by the increase in the departure tax. Belize must remain competitive regionally and globally to increase tourist arrivals and to promote the growth of the tourism industry. We must recognize the fragility of our tourism industry by safeguarding its future through the development and implementation of the right policies to promote sustainability, competitiveness and growth.” We are reliably informed that within the industry there are concerns about the ability of Belize to land larger airlines such as Southwest of the U.S. and carriers from Canada and the United Kingdom as a result of the higher tax.

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