Kicking The Industry While It`s Down

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has responded to the recent suggestion by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee that aviation should be subject to two additional taxes, VAT on domestic air tickets and a new tax based on emissions.

In a statement, Jean-Claude Baumgarten, President of WTTC said:

“New aviation taxes would amount to kicking the industry while it`s down. Travel & Tourism has just experienced the worst series of setbacks in its history, namely war, economic downturn, threat of terrorism, SARS and, in the UK last year, Foot and Mouth.”

As a consequence of these events, all of them beyond the control of the industry, over 3 million jobs have been lost worldwide and 195,000 in the UK.

WTTC`s figures show that Travel & Tourism represents 10.7% of the UK economy (Gross Domestic Product) and 3m jobs, 10% of total employment.

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Jean-Claude continued: “Taxing aviation would certainly have a negative impact on Travel & Tourism in the UK and would deter some visitors who come and spend valuable foreign currency in British shops, hotels and restaurants. As Travel & Tourism is such a significant sector of the economy, even a small impact in percentage terms would amount to a very significant number of jobs.”

WTTC is generally opposed to taxation of Travel & Tourism, as it is a barrier to the free movement of people and to economic growth. In addition, taxation is a blunt instrument in this regard and taxation on travel has a disproportionate impact on the less affluent in society.

Jean-Claude concluded: “It is important to appreciate that the aviation industry has made tremendous progress in reducing pollution over the past few years and that it is continuing to make progress on an international level to further reduce emissions. I am surprised that very little consideration was given to imaginative ideas such as emissions trading.”

For more information, please contact: David Tarsh on +44 207 602 5262 or 7770 816 070 (m).

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