ABTA has written to the Chancellor George Osborne with a five point action plan to drive growth opportunities for the travel industry ahead of the 21 March Budget.
Two years ago the Government identified travel and tourism as one of the key drivers of growth for the UK economy and ABTA is calling on the Chancellor to use the budget, to support, create and enable a favourable business environment for all three travel and tourism sectors, domestic, inbound and outbound.
ABTA’s Five Key Action Points include:
1. Air Passenger Duty (APD) – We ask the Government to revisit its decisions on APD, specifically to change its plan to increase APD in April 2012; and accept the industry recommendations to offset EU Emission Trading Scheme revenues against APD.
2. Increase the UK’s connectivity – The UK needs robust long term aviation strategy. First and foremost we need a strong hub airport providing a world class passenger experience and increased connections for the UK economy with key international markets. If this is not to be at Heathrow, the Government must urgently look at other options. We also call on the Government to make explicit its support for leisure aviation and continue improvements in surface connectivity to airports.
3. Address squeezed consumer spending - ABTA supports plans to encourage and enable sustainable and responsible family holiday spending by relieving their general tax burden and get the nation spending again.
4. Promote all three types of tourism equally – ABTA welcomes the Government’s focus on tourism but a policy that only recognises the domestic sector is lop- sided; the Government needs to recognise and support the domestic, inbound and outbound sectors, which all contribute economically to the health and well-being of the nation.
5. Cut Red Tape – ABTA Red Tape TaskForce recommendations are currently being considered by the DCMS. We also call on the Chancellor to consider giving his support to removing sales of travel insurance from FSA regulation and lifting the onerous burden of the Money Laundering Regulations from companies selling foreign currency.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive, ABTA said: “The Chancellor has it within his power in the Budget to create the economic conditions necessary for the travel and tourism industry to thrive. His Government has identified the industry as one of its key drivers of economic growth and now is the time to back up these words by taking decisive action. It is critical that he shows support to all three sectors of the industry - domestic inbound and outbound - as each plays a key role in contributing to the economic health of the nation. Taking up ABTA’s five recommendations would represent a major contribution towards achieving the goal of growing travel and tourism and also send a positive message to the industry.”
Luke Pollard, Head of Public Affairs, ABTA added: “The continuing problems facing the economy are not just for the Government to address; the tourism industry also wants to do everything it can to deliver jobs and growth. But it will be difficult to achieve this without co-operative support and an on-going dialogue where we can exchange frank and open views.”