The government’s decision to raise the Air Passenger Duty next April and the admission that it is primarily for general revenue purposes represents “reckless governance in the extreme”.
The accusation came from the US-based Business Travel Coalition which said the move was made worse by the “wholesale rejection” of the travel industry’s well-considered concerns over the impact of the heightened air tax.
“The immediate consequence will be lost jobs; the longer-term fate of a substantially weakened UK travel and tourism industry as well as its global competitiveness is sealed”, the coalition warned.
”When the EU Emissions Trading System kicks in during 2012 – effectively taxing the UK twice for its role in ‘protecting the environment’ – the cumulative, negative impact on the UK and its external stakeholders will be orders of magnitude more grim,” the BTC added.
The organisation directly lobbied Chancellor George Osborne against a further hike in APD supported by 70 leading global corporate travel departments, travel management companies and tour operators.
Signatories included Makino from Japan, Dnata Travel Services from Dubai, Argo Travel from Greece, Qiagen Group from Holland, Alfa Laval from Sweden, Travel Leaders from the US, Li & Fung Group from Hong Kong and Uniglobe Normark Travel from Canada.
“National economies have become more interlinked and these signatories are all negatively impacted by the onerous APD whether by reduced tourism to their countries or by the UK increasingly pricing itself out of the markets for meetings, incentive trips and conventions,” BTC spokesman Kevin Mitchell said.