Last month, Topic Air announced that it would discontinue its regional flights including its air travel to San Pedro Sula, Honduras and Merida and Chetumal in Mexico due significantly to the higher tax and fees charged by the Barrow Administration. In their public announcement Tropic Air’s CEO Steve Schulte noted that there was [quote] “no clear path to sustainably serving these markets under current economic and regulatory conditions” [end quote].
The airlines have been hit hard over the years with an increase in the rider’s fee and then an increase in the Departure Tax this year.
In a report published in the Novedades Quintana Roo over the weekend, Mexican tourist officials lament the decision by Tropic Air, indicating that they made attempts to keep the flights going.
Juan Alfredo Pacheco Cocom, who is the Director of Tourism Development for Othon P. Blanco, pointed out that they held meetings with officials from Tropic Air, offered alternative routes with potential in the market, but the decision stood.
Cocom added that the flights from Belize are of major interest to them, and hopes that the connection can be restored soon.
According to reports, in Tropic Air’s last days of flight to Chetumal they only attracted 3 passengers. In March, the Government announced that it needed 88 million dollars in new tax measures.
Among the tax measures introduced was an increase to the Departure Fee for non-Belizeans to $40 dollars, which would raise 11 million dollars more for the Government.
The Belize Tourism Industry Association has expressed concern about the implications of the tax increase on the industry.