Tui Travel wants a global scheme for reporting aircraft emissions and Air Passenger Duty replaced by a tax linked to emissions.
Johan Lundgren, Tui Travel deputy chief executive, said yesterday: “We need a common framework to record emissions. At the moment the customer is unable to make a choice. There is absolutely no standard metric.”
Lundgren told a World Travel Market (WTM) round table on travel and carbon pollution: “We have been trying to persuade Brussels to do this for a long time.”
He added: “We are going to need international taxes [on emissions]. Clearly we don’t have agreement on this, but it is a necessity.
“At Tui Travel we paid £120 million on APD last year. The government does not pretend APD has anything to do with the environment any more. We should replace the current [air passenger] tax system.”
Jumeirah Group president and chief executive Gerald Lawless disagreed on tax. He said: “We are not about discouraging people from travelling.
“Travel and tourism employs 10% of people in work in the world, and a lot of them are young. Don’t tell me employing people is bad for the environment.
Lawless said: “Living is bad for the planet. But we do exist. . . The industry accounts for 5% of [global] emissions.”
If that figure is growing, Lawless added: “The figures of other sectors are growing as well. It is important we communicate what we are doing.”
South African tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said: “It’s indefensible that we continue to conduct ourselves as in the past.
“But I believe we can achieve what we want through market mechanisms. We won’t get agreement on taxes. The problem is much deeper.
“The developed and developing world cannot agree [on the use of carbon]. I don’t think the developing world is the problem. The problem is developing countries like the US.
“The US continues to emit, at an individual level, 10 times what we in the developed world emit.”
Van Schalkwyk added: “The elephant in the room is the European Union’s emissions trading scheme (ETS).”
He described ETS as “aggressive unilateralism”, arguing: “The EU said we are going to tax you, your aircraft, your passengers, in your own airspace.”
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