In a notice posted on the government website at 4:58 p.m. Friday, the BVI Airports Authority announced a $30 “airport development fee” that had taken effect the same day.
For all passengers entering and leaving the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport, the ADF amounts to $30 ($15 each way). For those travelling internationally to and from Anegada or Virgin Gorda, the fee is reduced to $20 ($10 each way), and those traveling inter-island will pay $5.
The announcement also stated that people “traveling on airlines that do not include the ADF in their ticket will be required to pay” the tax prior to proceeding through airport security.
According to the announcement, the BVIAA acted with the approval of the Cabinet on Feb. 6, while the government was still under the National Democratic Party. Though the NDP had announced plans for a major runway extension, it is unclear if the fee was levied for that project: Multiple attempts to contact BVIAA authorities were unsuccessful.
The initial notice of the change was made known to residents the same day it took effect via flyer posted in the airport.
Outrage quickly spread through social media when a resident posted a photo of the flyer. Many expressed disappointment in the raised fees, arguing that travel to the Virgin Islands was difficult enough already and riddled with other “surprise” fees for tourists. As a pillar of the VI economy, tourism may face a new challenge, residents predicted.
See the complete list of airport fees here.