UKinbound has added its voice to the tourism industry’s criticism of the changes to Air Passenger Duty announced on Monday in the Government’s Pre-Budget Report. The trade association said the move will damage inbound tourism, with long haul and business travellers to the UK being hit particularly hard. Long haul visitors are incredibly important to the UK’s visitor economy as they stay for longer periods and on average spend a lot more than short haul travellers. UKinbound said that along with additional taxes, the Government’s actions will encourage inbound travellers to choose other destinations.
The changes will mean taxes on flights between the UK and Europe will rise by 10% to £11 in November 2009 and £12 in 2010. US travellers, the UK’s main market for tourism, will see their taxes rise from £40 to £60 in 2010. For standard long haul visitors travelling over 6000 miles (including Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia, three key inbound markets), their taxes will rise from £40 to £85 in 2010. Business visitors will also be severely affected with taxes for travellers on any flights above economy rising to anything up to £170 from 2010.
Mary Rance Chief Executive of UKinbound said:
“At a time when the pound is at its weakest level for years, international travellers should be encouraged to holiday here and take advantage of the fantastic value currently offered in the UK. Instead the Government is imposing higher taxes on long haul visitors and discouraging them to visit.
“The current system of taxing each passenger is said by the Government to be a way of helping to reduce carbon emissions. There is no proof that this works, but there is proof to suggest that this deters overseas visitors from travelling to the UK in favour of other European countries with less tax to pay.”