07 Mar

ABTA calls on Chancellor to support tourism growth in March Budget

ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer has written to the Chancellor George Osborne MP calling on the Government to take action in four key areas in the March Budget. The four point action plan is shaped to enable the travel industry to maximise its contribution to economic growth and job creation whilst also recognising the key role performed by all three sectors of the tourism mix: domestic, inbound and outbound.

ABTA’s four point action plan is based on the policy principals outlined in its recent “Valuing the UK’s Tourism Mix” paper, and calls for:

  1. Action on Air Passenger Duty – Following the PwC report published last month which found that abolition of APD would result in a net tax gain for the Exchequer ABTA supports the A Fair Tax on Flying call on Government to take immediate action in relation to the level and impact of APD and halt further increases in the tax. 
  2. Strategic Infrastructure Support – The Government should support capacity expansion at airports where it is needed and HS2 should from the outset run via Heathrow and not around it making it an integral point on the London to Birmingham route.
  3. Addressing Squeezed Consumer Spending Power – ABTA encourages the Chancellor to look favourably at plans to encourage additional spending by families to support the wider economy including spend on the annual family holiday.
  4. Cutting Red Tape – There are opportunities in each sector of the economy to remove unhelpful regulation. One simple and inexpensive way to do this in travel and tourism would be to make sales of travel insurance by travel agents and tour operators exempt from regulation as they are in other parts of the European Union. This would remove a burdensome and expensive regime that has also resulted in more people travelling uninsured.

Mark Tanzer, CEO ABTA said: “We understand that the Government has to make some economic tough decisions, but it is also important to focus on policies that deliver growth. Our four point action plan sets this out very clearly. Through reviewing its policies on Air Passenger Duty and strategic infrastructure, addressing squeezed family incomes and cutting red tape, the Government can create the conditions for the travel industry to thrive, creating jobs and building the economy in the process.”

Luke Pollard, ABTA's Head of Public Affairs said: "Ministers must look again at the policies that are preventing tourist businesses growing and taking on more people. Addressing Air Passenger Duty is one such policy obstacle and we're pleased to see so many MPs backing our campaign – A Fair Tax on Flying - privately and publicly. We'll keep the pressure on."

You can view ABTA's full submission to the Government online.