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The government is today being urged by leading trade bodies to recognise the “vital role” of aviation and tourism to the UK economy.
The call comes in a report examining the value of the two sectors compiled by Abta, the Airport Operators Association, the Tourism Alliance and UKinbound.
It is being unveiled today at their annual parliamentary reception at the House of Commons in London.
The study, combining data and case studies from each organisation, gives an analysis of how flights to, from, and within the UK underpin the success of the nation’s growing tourism industry.
The publication comes ahead of tomorrow’s expected publication of the Airports Commission’s recommendations for expanding airport capacity and next week’s summer Budget.
The report calls for the government to invest in policies that will help both aviation and tourism to develop further.
A commitment to sustaining world-class air connectivity, reviewing and cutting Air Passenger Duty and improving the competitiveness of the UK’s visa system to make the UK more accessible are among the policies required to boost tourism and contribute to a growing economy in the years to come.
Commenting on the report, Mark Pritchard MP, said: “There is a powerful case to be made as to the importance of aviation tourism as a wealth and job creator.
“I believe that this report is essential reading for my Westminster colleagues, and I am certain that it will help to shape their views on the policy challenges and opportunities facing the UK’s tourism industry – and hopefully, the government’s future policy making process.”
Abta chief executive, Mark Tanzer, said: “The UK’s aviation and tourism industries are deeply interconnected; a healthy tourism industry relies on a healthy aviation industry and vice versa.
“In this report, we have identified key policies and strategies that will allow both industries to maximise their full and ever-growing potential, increasing visitor capacity and tourism’s GDP contribution, as well as generating more jobs.”
AOA chief executive, Darren Caplan, said: “In order to prosper in today’s increasingly globalised economy, the UK requires excellent aviation connectivity right across the country.
“Passenger numbers at most UK airports are heading in the right direction, however, with the right kind of government support we could be performing even better.
“The overall rate of APD must be reduced so that we are competing with our European rivals and a quick decision must be made on the Sir Howard Davies Airports Commission final report in the coming weeks.”
Tourism Alliance chairman, Ufi Ibrahim, stated: “Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the tourism Industry has generated almost a third of all additional jobs created in the UK since 2010.
“Importantly, these jobs have been created throughout the UK, supporting the recovery of regional economies. A strong aviation sector is therefore vital to maintaining and enhancing the key role that tourism plays in regional development.”
UKinbound chief executive, Deirdre Wells, said: “Tourism has been at the forefront of the UK’s economic recovery with inbound tourism related export earnings increasing by 26.5% to £24 billion between 2009 and 2014.
“To further increase the benefits generated by tourism, the government must continue to invest in tourism promotion and work with the tourism and aviation industries to remove barriers to its competitiveness.”
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