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By Shermain Bique-Charles

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Tour and taxi operators in Antigua and Barbuda calling for an increase in their fees are receiving support from a well-known international tour operator.

Paul Cleary, of UK-based luxury vacation firm Caribtours, agrees that prices should increase to accommodate for loss in revenue due to social distancing protocols which translates to fewer passengers.

“You can’t have it both ways…something’s got to give; prices will have to go up. It’s a reality, it is imminent,” he told an industry webinar yesterday.

Tourism is a labour intensive sector, he said, and a leading source of employment and job creation, providing a high volume of jobs for low skilled workers, together with higher skilled jobs.

“Whether you own a catamaran or doing an island tour, it all flows through and there will inevitably be an element of that [price increases],” he explained.

He said even hotels need to increase their tours, taking into account that they will also be struggling with low occupancy.

But Bob Thye, of luxury destination firm AM Resorts, said market conditions should be considered before price hikes.

He added that because Covid-19 is already forcing additional costs onto tour operators, “these cost elements will have to be reflected in price”.

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