News defends no-frills airlines has hit back at claims that the budget air industry is destroying domestic tourism.

General manager Francesca Ecsery refuted claims made this week to the Government’s Culture Committee inquiry into domestic tourism that the failure to charge VAT to air fuel gives overseas tourism an unfair advantage.

Travelodge director of communications Greg Dawson said between 1995 to 2002 when no-frills flights launched saw domestic tourism spend drop by 16%.

Ecsery blamed overpriced domestic travel and accommodation and poor value for money as reasons for the domestic tourism the drop.  

She added: “Without budget airlines, thousands of families in the UK would be unable to travel abroad. Outrageous price hikes, particularly on train fares, and the government’s fuel taxes do not help traditional tourism in the UK.

“I think that the main reason for the decline in traditional tourism resorts is that the offering in the UK is not as good as it is abroad. When looking at price, quality, and hassle factors for the UK versus international resorts, you just can’t compare.

“For the same price you will often find better lodging, food, and service. Add all of that to the fact that destinations such as southern Europe offer a better climate for most of the year, and you have more reason to travel than not.”

She also refuted claims made at the inquiry that a 10% reduction in overseas flights by 2020 would create 31,250 jobs in the UK and raise £1 billion in spending.

Ecsery said: “These claims have completely ignored the fact that this reduction would also cause a recession for budget airlines, which would result in job cuts and damage to the economy in turn.”

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