Air Passenger Duty hurting U.K. holiday industry – WTM 2013 Industry Report

Published on : Tuesday, November 5, 2013

holiday-destinationThe Government’s seemingly limitless appetite for increasing Air Passenger Duty (APD) is continuing to impact the holiday industry, reveals the World Travel Market 2013 Industry Report released yesterday (Monday 4 November).

Seven out of ten (71%) senior industry executives attending World Travel Market, which takes place in London this week, predict that the next increase in 2014, just one year after the previous increase, will adversely affect the industry. A further 65% have predicted that it will deter foreign tourists from coming to the UK, a little more than a year after London and the UK hosted the 2012 Olympics, partially in a bid to drive tourism.

Further analysis of the results show that of the 71% professionals predicting the tax will have an impact on the UK outbound tourism market, 19% have predicted fewer holidays will be taken overall. Exactly one quarter say fewer long haul holidays will be taken while 27% believe holidaymakers will choose short haul breaks over long haul trips. Of the 65% who said the levy will harm the UK’s inbound tourism trade, 20% said it would lead to significantly fewer overseas tourists coming to the UK while 45% said slightly fewer would visit.

And they are right to be concerned. A poll of 1,001 UK holidaymakers has revealed nearly half – 41% – will change their holiday plans because of the tax’s next increase on April 1, 2014. Of the 41%, 14% have said they will reduce the number of overseas holidays they will take while 20% pledged to stop flying long haul in preference of short-haul trips. A further 7% said they will only take domestic breaks because of the increased expense. Just 28% said the charges would not affect their plans.

Reed Travel Exhibitions Exhibition Director World Travel Market Simon Press said: “Successive UK Governments have continued to increase Air Passenger Duty since it was introduced in 1994. These increases have started to price out many UK holidaymakers from the trips they want to take.

“Furthermore, the increases also affect inbound tourists to London, meaning it could affect the successful tourism legacy of the 2012 London Olympics.

Following the latest increases in APD on April 1 2013, the current, cheapest rates for an economy seat stands at £13 for short haul, £67 for mid haul and £83 for long haul while anyone wishing to fly more than 6,000 miles must shell out £94. The next round of increases on April 1, 2014, will not impact short haul flights but will see mid haul rise to £69, long haul to £85 and those in the 6,000 mile plus category paying £97. When APD was first introduced in 1994 it cost just £5 to fly anywhere in the UK and EU and £10 elsewhere.

Source: WTM London.


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