Air Tax Cut Will Encourage More Long-Haul Holidays

Air Tax Cut Will Encourage More Long-Haul Holidays

The travel trade expects more tourists to book holidays in far-flung destinations in 2015, thanks to tax cuts on long-haul flights, according to the World Travel Market 2014 Industry Report released today (Monday 3 November).

More than two thirds (68%) of industry respondents quizzed for the report think tourists will be more likely to fly to long-haul destinations after the top rates of Air Passenger Duty (APD) fall in April 2015.

The Chancellor announced changes to the controversial APD rates in the Budget of March 2014, after intensive lobbying from the trade and destinations that have been hit by anomalies in the scheme.

It means that the most expensive bands – Bands C and D – will be scrapped, so long-haul destinations will fall under Band B from April 2015.

ABTA estimated that moving long-haul flights into Band B will save passengers more than £200 million annually, and should boost travel and tourism, as well as promote greater UK connectivity.

Destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean and Australia are among those expected to see visitor numbers from the UK rise as a result of the tax changes.

Australia, Canada, Japan, Vietnam, China, India and New Zealand were all destination cited by the 1,011 2014 UK holidaymakers as targeted holiday destinations for 2015.

The burden of taxation and red tape is further reflected in the report’s finding that 80% of the 1,229 respondents feel that the travel and tourism industry is over-taxed in general, and 46% believe it is over-regulated.

Meanwhile, those in the trade selling transatlantic flights and holidays also received a boost in the findings of the report, as the US was predicted to be in the top three holiday destinations for 2015. It was tipped along with short-haul destinations Italy and Spain.

A further clue pointing to more potential growth for the US market came in the World Travel Market 2014 Industry Report.

This quizzed more than 1,000 holidaymakers in the UK and found that almost half (44%) were aware of the major expansions at Florida’s theme parks this year.

2014 has been the biggest year of growth in Florida theme park history, with Universal Orlando Resort, Walt Disney World, Legoland Florida and SeaWorld’s Aquatica and Busch Gardens all launching expansions or new rides.

World Travel Market, Senior Director, Simon Press said: “It is welcome news that the industry anticipates an uptick in long-haul business as a result of the forthcoming change to APD.

“The four-tier banding system has priced many families out of taking flights and has had a negative impact on economic competitiveness of the UK.

“We hope that the boost in business from this initial reform will highlight the benefits of cutting the burden of taxation on flights, and encourage the Government to freeze or even reduce the rates levied in the remaining two bands.

“It’s also gratifying to see how well the USA is expected to do in 2015, especially after the multimillion-dollar investments in Florida’s massively popular theme parks.”

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About World Travel Market

World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend four-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.

More than 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM.

WTM, now in its 35th year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals.

WTM 2013 generated more than £2 billion of travel industry contracts, revealed independent research by Fusion Communications.

WTM is owned by the world’s leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions (RE), which organises a other portfolio’s of travel industry events including IBTM Events, the world’s leading showcases for the meetings and events industry and International Luxury Travel Market events.

In 2013, RE held more than 500 events in 40 countries bringing together more than six million people from around the world generating billions of dollars in business.

Reed Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry, with a wide-ranging portfolio of 21 international events in 14 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa.

Its market-leading, business-to-business events cover all elements of travel and tourism, including leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, events, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel.

RTE is part of Reed Exhibitions.