04 Mar

Scottish travel and tourism industry welcomes proposed cut in Scottish air tax

All political parties urged to recognise value of travel and tourism to Scottish economy ahead of elections

ABTA – The Travel Association and the Scottish Passenger Agents' Association (SPAA) came together yesterday (Thursday 3 March) to support the proposed 50% cut in Scottish Air Passenger Duty (APD). The two associations co-hosted a roundtable dinner in Edinburgh, entitled “Direction of travel in Scotland”, which was attended by leaders of the Scottish travel and tourism industry as well as a cross-party group of leading MSPs and MPs. 

Travel and tourism are currently worth £5.8 billion¹ a year to the Scottish economy and support 292,000 jobs2. This represents over 10% of total GDP, equating to a total economic impact of £12bn2. All three sectors of Scotland’s tourism mix - inbound, outbound and domestic travel and tourism – are interconnected and interdependent, with shared infrastructure, shared products and a shared customer base. ABTA and SPAA are calling on all political parties to recognise the value of travel and tourism to Scotland, ahead of the May elections.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA, said: “The invaluable economic contribution of a vibrant tourism mix to the Scottish economy is undeniable, and the Scottish Government’s commitment to cut APD by 50% is a very welcome demonstration of its support for the industry. We now call on Westminster to follow Holyrood’s example so that the undoubted boost that this APD cut will bring to the Scottish economy can be felt throughout the rest of the UK.”

SPAA President, Alan Glen, said: “With May’s election to the Scottish Parliament rapidly approaching, yesterday’s dinner was an ideal opportunity for both SPAA and ABTA to put the compelling case that any future Government should do everything in its power to support and grow travel and tourism in Scotland. Our industry employs hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland as well as making an enormous contribution to the nation’s GDP, but it can and will do more with proper support from Government. The commitment to cut APD by 50% would be a welcome step in the right direction.”