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D’Aguilar: Difficult for region to unite on head tax issue

The suggestion has been renewed that the Caribbean nations that allow the cruise lines to call on their countries, band together to force better head taxes out of the cruise lines. Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar, while considering the position one of strength, suggested cruise lines could still, at the negotiating table, outmaneuver islands they deem less critical to their business.

The suggestion came through an article called ‘A call for Caribbean governments to tax cruise sector more and air passengers less’, on travel and tourism news website eturbonews.com.

According to the article, the range of head taxes in the various Caribbean territories goes from $18 to as little as $1.50. The Bahamas is at the high end of $18.

D’Aguilar said there is always talk among the Caribbean’s tourism ministers about banding together to create a strong negotiating body to contend with the powerful Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA).

He explained that while the FCCA, which represents the cruise lines, has been very effective at getting what it wants, “it has been historically difficult to create a unified body with which to negotiate with the FCCA”.

According to D’Aguilar, in many cases countries consider the head tax paid by cruise lines too low to sustain the kind of infrastructure it takes to accommodate the cruise ships and the wear and tear on the ports of call that come from thousands of tourists descending on a town.

“There’s a general belief that the cruise companies pay very little or don’t pay an appropriate amount to bring their passengers to many countries in the Caribbean,” he said.

D’Aguilar said the cruise companies benefit tremendously from the Caribbean, while often not giving enough in the way of taxes.

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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