Tourism minister concerned about the impact the rise in gas prices could have on the economy

Minister of Tourism, Charles Max Fernandez
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Just as the nation’s economy is starting to recover from the devasting fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, Antigua and Barbuda is about to be dealt another blow as a result of the rise in gas prices.

And as a great consequence, the pockets of residents will be affected, much to their frustration.

Furthermore, tourism officials are concerned that the rise in gas prices could further stymie the already struggling sector.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia – a major producer of oil – has bolstered oil prices on the international market, which experts say will have a domino effect on economies.

Gas prices traditionally rise when the price of a barrel of crude rises and in the past few months the price of oil has skyrocketed due to the high world demand and scarcity.

As a result, the Minister of Tourism, Charles Max Fernandez, is worried that all the gains made in the sector could be reversed.

“That is gonna have an untold effect upon us in every aspect of life. I mean if you’ve seen already what has happened in terms of the price of oil gone to $140 a barrel and it seems as though even though the US government has said that they will look to release the strategic reserves that has not really affected it in any kind of noticeable way so that is a big concern for us,” he shared.

“We believe we are just now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel… and now boom we are hit with this,” he continued to lament.

Fernandez believes that this could also affect the tourism sector when airlines and other stakeholders are forced to up their fares.

“It could affect us in a very negative way. Taxi operator rates, bus fares, electricity…even the airfares are gonna be affected possibly. We are sort of lucky that the season is winding down but we were anticipating a good summer,” he said.

Over the weekend, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said his government can no longer maintain the subsidised EC $12.50 per gallon gas price across the country, saying that the prices of gasoline and diesel will definitely be in excess of $15 per gallon, and that residents could begin realising the increase at the pumps in a matter of days.

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