BHA: Abolishing air tax for kids sidesteps real issues

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The British Hospitality Association welcomes a cut on Air Passenger Duty for the under 12s but says the policy sidesteps the real issue of stimulating economic growth through Tourism across the UK, especially coastal and rural areas.

In George Osborne’s Autumn Statement today, the Chancellor announced that air tax on flights for children under 12 will be abolished from 1 May next year..

Air Passenger Duty is paid by all those flying from a UK airport and currently adds between £13 and £97 to the cost of a flight, depending on how far the final destination is from London. Critics of the APD tax say current prices mean many ordinary families are not able to afford overseas holidays.

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BHA CEO Ufi Ibrahim says: “The cut in APD is good news for the outbound tourism industry, in encouraging more families to vacation abroad. However, the real issue is the Government help that’s urgently needed by struggling coastal and rural regions of our country.

“Hospitality and Tourism remains a vital part of the rural and coastal economy.”

Employment in hospitality accounted for about 15% of all jobs in the two Blackpool constituencies, more than 13% in Great Yarmouth and 19% in St. Ives according to research by Oxford Economics published by the British Hospitality Association.

“The Chancellor has missed an important opportunity to help thousands of small and medium sized hospitality enterprises, upon which so many coastal and rural communities depend for their jobs and livelihoods.

“We had hoped to that the government would use the Coastal Communities Fund as part of a better co-ordinated move to regenerate rural and coastal communities with larger, more impactful and inspiring schemes.

Reforms to stimulate domestic and inbound tourism within the UK are critical, especially given that our sub-national tourism structures are effectively broken.

“Hospitality SMEs are the backbone of this nation, and we would have preferred to see an announcement on urgent reforms helping to encourage new investment into raising the competitiveness of coastal and rural destinations.

“We are much more excited about the announcement of investment in roads, than we are in the announcement on APD.

“However, the investment in roads alone will not be enough to stimulate urgently needed economic growth through tourism in coastal and rural areas.

“The designation of specific areas as qualifying for investment and Business Rates relief and a fast track route for planning applications would make a big difference.”
 

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