Chancellor George Osborne is being presented with a five point action plan to drive growth opportunities for the travel industry ahead of the budget on March 21.
Abta is calling on the Chancellor to use the budget to support, create and enable a “favourable business environment” for the domestic, inbound and outbound travel sectors.
The five key action points are:
- Air Passenger Duty – A call not to further increase APD in April and to accept industry recommendations to offset EU Emission Trading Scheme revenues against APD.
- Increase the UK’s connectivity – Abta wants to see a “robust long term aviation strategy” including a strong hub airport providing a world-class passenger experience and increased connections for the UK economy with key international markets. If this is not to be at Heathrow, the government must urgently look at other options. Abta also urged the government to make explicit its support for leisure aviation and continue improvements in surface connectivity to airports.
- Address squeezed consumer spending – Atba supports plans to encourage and enable sustainable and responsible family holiday spending by relieving their general tax burden and get the nation spending again.
- Promote all three types of tourism equally – A tourism policy that only recognises the domestic sector is “lop-sided”. The government needs to recognise and support the domestic, inbound and outbound sectors, which all contribute economically to the health and well-being of the nation.
- Cut Red Tape – Abta Red Tape TaskForce recommendations are currently being considered by the Department of Culture Media and Sport. Abta is also calling on Osborne to support removing sales of travel insurance from FSA regulation and lifting the “onerous burden” of the money laundering regulations from companies selling foreign currency.
Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “The Chancellor has it within his power in the budget to create the economic conditions necessary for the travel and tourism industry to thrive.
“His government has identified the industry as one of its key drivers of economic growth and now is the time to back up these words by taking decisive action. It is critical that he shows support to all three sectors of the industry – domestic inbound and outbound – as each plays a key role in contributing to the economic health of the nation.
“Taking up Abta’s five recommendations would represent a major contribution towards achieving the goal of growing travel and tourism and also send a positive message to the industry.”
The association’s head of public affairs Luke Pollard added: “The continuing problems facing the economy are not just for the government to address; the tourism industry also wants to do everything it can to deliver jobs and growth.
“But it will be difficult to achieve this without co-operative support and an on-going dialogue where we can exchange frank and open views.”
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