MADRID — The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is welcoming the recent decision by the UK government to reform the Air Passenger Duty (APD).
The current APD system, in place since 2008, has significantly hindered UK’s tourism while creating important market distortions affecting long-haul destinations, said the organization.
UNWTO has been long advocating for the need to review the current APD scheme. The existing band scheme, according to which values to be paid by travellers are calculated according to the distance between London and the destination country’s capital city, has made long distance flying out of the UK significantly more expensive. This has created significant barriers for tourism development in long-haul destinations which depend mainly on air travel while curbing UK’s tourism competitiveness in emerging markets.
“While taxes are a fundamental fiscal tool, there is a growing concern regarding a proliferation of levies on travel and tourism which produce market distortions and act as trade barriers, hampering fair competition between destinations,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai. “UNWTO, alongside partners such as WTTC, IATA, CTO and PATA, has been long advocating for the revision of the APD. This measure is very welcome news and we trust the UK economy as well as the economies of destinations with strong links to the UK will all benefit from this decision,” he added.
The UK’s announcement to review the APD follows similar reforms taken by countries such as the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany and Australia. Australia has recently frozen the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC).