The campaign, launched last month by A Fair Tax on Flying has been designed to encourage local businesses to sign a petition to be sent to the Treasury and highlights the damaging impact Air Passenger Duty (APD) is having on the UK’s economic growth.
International business visits and spend are growing at a faster rate than other visitor segments – 2% growth in 2012 in volume, the best year since 2008, APD continues to put UK business events at a competitive disadvantage. There is a growing call to support the promotion of business visits and events and build on the existing efforts of those involved in the sector.
Michael Hirst, Chairman of the Business Visits and Events Partnership said; "It’s crucial that policy-makers look at, and understand the detrimental impact of APD on the UK economy. APD makes the UK less competitive than our international neighbours and hurts our connectivity with developed and emerging markets. It is important we follow the work already being carried out by national tourist boards and government agencies like UKTI who support trade engagement and promotion of business extender travel overseas. Events boost Britain’s image overseas and business travellers spend on average 2.5 times more than leisure travellers, their impact on Britain’s economy is undoubted.”
The World Economic Forum’s recent tourism competitiveness report ranked the UK 138th out of 139 countries for air ticket taxes and airport charges. It has been estimated by consultancy PwC that APD represents an additional £500m per year tax on UK businesses. A similar amount is also levied on corporate travellers visiting the UK – creating a barrier to trade and business. According to PwC the GDP boost to the UK economy from cutting or abolishing the tax would amount to at least £16 billion in the first three years and result in almost 60,000 extra jobs over the longer term.