The US-based Business Travel Coalition (BTC) has issued a last-minute plea to British chancellor George Osborne to consider the impact of further increases in Air Passenger Duty (APD).
Osborne is due to present the annual budget to parliament on Wednesday, with rumours growing further increases could be included.
The group – which includes corporate travel departments, travel management companies and tour operators from around the world – argue the tax is already pricing the UK out of the meetings, incentives and conventions market.
In an open letter the group explain: “Whether a convention in London, or an incentive trip to the famed golf venues of Scotland, our companies and clients are choosing France, Ireland and other destinations to avoid the highest aviation taxes that can be found in all of Europe.
“To be clear, the UK is a coveted destination; however, budgets are tight around the world and just a few hundred pounds difference in cost can cause the UK to lose significant business that sustains jobs and powers the UK economy.”
However, there have been reports in the British press further APD rises have been ruled out by the coalition government.
Prime minister David Cameron cited tourism as one of the vital industries to the recovery in the British economy earlier this year.
Any rise in APD would also be viewed as a further tax on what the coalition had branded the “squeezed middle” – a vital constituency of support.