The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) held a politicians and travel industry leaders dinner in the House of Commons in London, November 5. The aim was to draw attention to unfair taxation and ill thought-out schemes that are hurting the travel industry, especially UK outbound travel to longhaul destinations. The main tax under discussion at the dinner was the reviled UK Air Passenger Duty (APD).
Fifty global business leaders, members of Parliament, ministers from a range of PATA countries and international press joined the “aligned advocacy” event. The occasion, hosted by PATA CEO Martin J Craigs, was attended by Ms Priti Patel MP, Mr Andrew Rosindell MP, and Mr Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, UNWTO. The keynote speaker was Ms Gloria Guevara, Secretary of Tourism, Mexico.
Speaking after the event, Mr Rifai said that last night’s PATA dinner in the House of Commons, Parliament of the United Kingdom, was a "triumph for next generation PATA activism" and a "major step on the road to aligned and effective advocacy for the travel and tourism”.
During the dinner, Craigs applauded UK MP Priti Patel who led the UK parliamentary debate on November 1. In her Parliamentary address Patel directly quoted the PATA CEO in the House, saying, “The UK Air Passenger Duty is now the world’s highest by a wide margin. It is certainly turning away tourism and trade from the world’s fastest growing economic region,” [Asia Pacific].
The PATA CEO told the audience that 73% of PATA member destinations are in the two most heavily taxed bands of the UK APD – Band C and Band D. A UK passenger flying Australia has to pay ₤92 (rising to ₤94 in April 2013). A passenger in business class has to pay ₤184 (rising to ₤188).
The PATA CEO said: “It is now time for a ‘declaration of interdependence’ among travel industry bodies. The travel industry is being victimized disproportionately by this tax. It negatively impacts travel industry jobs in the UK and abroad at a time when we desperately need to create growth.”
PATA and travel industry partners are seeking a freeze on the planned increase in UK APD, and then a reduction in duty levels. “It’s November 5, but we don’t need fireworks,” said Craigs. “We are simply seeking a clear-headed reappraisal of the UK APD.”
Speakers at the dinner also praised the public campaign called “A Fair Tax on Flying” that has seen over 200,000 people email their Members of Parliament in the UK. Emailers called for the abolition or reduction of the UK APD, a tax that has risen 140% for economy class passengers and 325% for business class passengers since 2007.
PATA has created a six-page overview paper on UK APD. It looks at the history of the tax, recent developments, legal issues, and the aviation passenger tax experience of other non-UK countries. To download a copy visit http://22.214.171.124/Comm/PATAandtheUKAPD.pdf.
After the dinner, Craigs said: “The best is yet to come, as we cajole and, where necessary, coerce political non believers and short termers into realizing that travel and tourism is the fastest job creating industry in the world.”
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