ASTA, WTTC fight UK APD
ASTA is joining forces with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) to oppose the proposed increase in the UK Air Passenger Duty. While that tax is expected to add US$4.4 billion in tax revenue to the UK government’s coffers, the tax hike is also expected to “dampen the demand for travel and ultimately would harm not only the UK economy but also those countries to which the British travel to most frequently,” including the United States and Caribbean nations. Recently completed research by Oxford Economics — and which was sponsored by WTTC — illustrates the unintended consequences countries face when overburdening the aviation industry with high taxes. The research examines how sensitive passengers are to ticket taxes that increase the cost of travel. The planned Air Passenger Duty (tax) increase, scheduled to begin in April 2012, would not only impact tourism exports of British citizens travelling outside the UK, but would also have a profound impact on inbound tourism and the British economy. The data shows that removing the tax would result in an additional 91,000 British jobs and add an additional US$6.6 billion to the economy in 12 months. Tony Gonchar, ASTA’s CEO, commented: “Placing additional taxes on airline travel might assist countries with closing budget gaps in the short run, but such actions have long-term implications.” Gonchar continued: “WTTC’s research is a wake-up call for all countries looking to unfairly burden the tourism industry with excessive tax burdens. It’s not just the airlines that feel the resulting pain, but travel agencies who sell air, hotels and resorts, cruise lines and car rental companies to name a few.” ASTA notes as well that once the new tax is in effect, a family of four would pay an additional US$408 to fly from the UK to Florida.