IN OTHER NEWS:
CCRA Travel Solutions buys OSSN association
MSC orders two new ships from the STX yards
Qatar joins group buying half of AmEx unit
[ DUTY ON AIR TICKETS HAS GROWN 470% SINCE 2007 ]
In a win for Caribbean tourism,
U.K. to reform its passenger tax
By Gay Nagle Myers
While industry officials last week
welcomed changes to the U.K.’s Air
Passenger Duty (APD) announced
by British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, the battle
over the tax is far from over.
The changes announced in Osborne’s
budget presentation on March 19 marked an
improvement for many destinations, most
notably for the Caribbean, but the APD, a tax
on travel created to compensate for damage
that air traffic poses to the environment, has
not gone away.
What has happened is that the APD will be
simplified into a two-band system next year,
down from the convoluted four-band system
currently in effect for all flights originating
from the U.K.
The two-band change takes effect in April
2015. Until then, the four-band system
remains, exacerbated by a previously announced increase effective April 1.
Under the new two-band system, Band
A will cover short-haul flights of less than
2,000 miles from London, while Band B will
cover all long-haul flights of more than 2,000
miles from London.
The current Bands C and D will go away.
That cuts the tax substantially for travelers
to China, India and Brazil, who will pay the
same rate as travelers to the U.S. and the Caribbean.
For the Caribbean, it levels the playing
field by placing the same tax rate on flights to
the region as on flights to the U.S.
Disney’s ships are first to offer WiFi
by megabyte instead of by the minute
By Tom Stieghorst
MIAMI — As the cruise industry rushes to
expand the availability of WiFi for passengers,
Disney Cruise Line has broken from the pack
on the model it uses to charge for Internet usage on its ships, offering a system based on
how many megabytes are used rather than on
how much time is spent online.
The result is a system that costs less for
services that don’t use much data, such as
email, and more for bandwidth-hungry uses,
such as streaming video.
The pay-by-the-minute model is the current standard at sea.
In practical terms, guests who only want
to send or retrieve a few emails will pay very
little, while those who want to use the Inter-
net as an onboard entertainment system to
stream movies or You Tube videos, for exam-
ple, will pay more.
Disney is the first line to implement the
Connect@Sea system developed by MTN
Communications. Beyond enabling the
cruise line to better match a user’s needs to
the price charged, MTN said the data allotment system makes more efficient use of
bandwidth. As a result, speeds for all users
“We think it’s going to be the wave of the
future,” said Brent Horwitz, MTN’s senior
vice president of cruise and ferry services.
Cruise lines have been pushing suppliers
of Internet connectivity to come up with
faster and more creative ways to provide
See WIFI on Page 59
See TAX on Page 58
THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY’S TRUSTED VOICE
WWW.TRAVELWEEKLY.COM MARCH 24, 2014
CCRA CEO Dic Marxen explains the strategy
behind his purchase of OSSN and TRUE.
Alberta’s two Fairmonts have created golf
packages for their courses’ May opening.
Beyond Mardi Gras and music festivals, the
Big Easy offers a host of culinary events.
The U.K.’s Air Passenger Duty tax was a bad
idea. Now it will be just a little less bad.
The prime minister argues that historical attractions,
technological innovation and regional cooperation
are vital to the country’s tourism future.
BY ARNIE WEISSMANN PAGE 12