The world’s leading private sector travel and tourism businesses have called for the UK Air Passenger Duty to be abolished ahead of the introduction of the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) in 2012.
Championed by the World Travel & Tourism Council, the call comes after the British government confirmed APD would be held at its present level.
The Budget, revealed yesterday by Chancellor George Osborne, abandoned an industry-pacifying consultation on changes to the much-derided tax and delayed yet another rise in the fee, which would inevitably have been passed on to travellers.
“APD has always been a blunt instrument and a bad tax. Whether in its current per-passenger form or as a per-plane version, it is bad for the consumer and bad for the international competitiveness of UK plc,” said David Scowsill, President and chief executive of WTTC
“The advent of the European Emissions Trading Scheme is an ideal opportunity for government to scrap it entirely.
“It is time to admit that APD has failed to offset any environmental impact from people’s travel.”
European Emissions Trading Scheme
The European Emissions Trading Scheme is much fairer and more effective in incentivising the use of cleaner, ‘greener’ transport, while APD simply raises money for Treasury coffers with no evidence that it offsets the environmental cost of travel, argues WTTC.
By not scrapping APD, claims WTTC, the government will force British holidaymakers and business travellers to ‘fly once, but pay twice’ when EU-ETS comes into force.
It will hit people’s wallets and their ability to take a break at a time when government austerity measures are already impacting their lives.
Taxation policies such as APD could also threaten the UK’s status as a tourism destination and its international competitiveness. Travel & Tourism is worth £105 billion to UK plc, seven per cent of GDP, and employs some 2.4 million people.
Its contribution to GDP will increase by 3.7 per cent a year and bring with it 512,000 new jobs to the UK over the next decade.
However, compared to the rest of the world the country’s growth ranks a lowly 127th out of 181 countries.
“Despite economic growth facing many challenges, the Travel & Tourism industry is still expected to be one of the world’s fastest growing sectors,” added Scowsill.
“But it must have clear support with governments investing in far smarter policies if its full potential to create jobs, increase exports and stimulate investment is to be realised.
“If the chancellor really seeks a ‘Budget for growth’ then it’s time to turn to tourism.”
The World Travel & Tourism Council represents the chairs and chief executives of multinational brands from aviation, hospitality, tour operator and travel agent sectors.
It works with governments around the world to encourage policies to help travel and tourism thrive.