Today's Budget announcement that the government is pressing ahead with plans to massively increase Air Passenger Duty is very serious news. The steep increases and the irrational banding scheme which have been proposed mean that people travelling to the Caribbean will pay more than travellers to Hawaii. We think this is an ill-thought out, unfair tax. We fully support every industry effort to get the plans changed.
ABTA's chief executive Mark Tanzer said today: "We are very disappointed that the government has chosen to ignore the travel industry and go ahead with its plans to drastically raise Air Passenger Duty. This unfair tax already costs air travellers from the UK £2 billion and covers its environmental costs. This holiday tax represents a heavy and growing burden on families at a time when they are being forced to reconsider whether they can afford to take a well-earned break. As one of the few successful sectors in the UK economy, the government has targeted the travel industry to plunder, without regard to the damaging impact to jobs.
"We will continue to challenge the increases, and its anomalies. For example, the rise in APD to destinations such as the Caribbean, dependent on tourism, will be as much as 87 per cent, equating to a tax bill of £600 for a family of four travelling to the Caribbean in premium economy in 2010, compared with today's £160. A survey by one of the UK's largest tour operators shows that 22% of passengers travelling to the Caribbean with them have a household income of less than £25,000."