Northern Ireland’s tourism and hospitality sector is being urged to get behind a nationwide call for action to support a cut in UK Air Passenger Duty (APD).
This week The Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance (NITA), the umbrella group which represents key public and private sector players within the industry, called on its members to back the Fair Tax on Flying campaign and demand that their MPS do the same.
NITA sees the current Air Passenger Duty as a significant barrier to future growth and one which must be addressed if Northern Ireland is to compete on the world stage. Doreen McKenzie, Chief Executive Officer of NITA, says, “This is a tax levied on every passenger travelling on every flight departing from airports in the United Kingdom. It’s the highest tax of its kind in the world and markedly higher than any imposed by our European neighbours.
“The effects of the UK’s exorbitant APD rate are particularly pernicious in Northern Ireland – indeed, our airports have found themselves massively handicapped since the Republic’s equivalent tax was set at £0. A cut in APD would dramatically improve the connectivity of Northern Ireland’s airports and enhance our tourism industry by allowing us to be able to compete on a more level playing field.
This year Northern Ireland tourism will have broken through the billion pound barrier but we cannot be complacent, a reduction in APD will enable us to increase tourism growth making it a key economic driver.
NITA has already demonstrated its determination to have APD reduced in its formal response earlier this year to HM Treasury’s public consultation on APD, VAT and Tourism in N.I.
Today the Fair Tax on Flying campaign is backed by a coalition of airlines and transport organisations including ABTA (The Travel Association), Airlines UK, the Airport Operator’s Association and the association of foreign airlines that operate in the UK known as BAR, the Board of Airline Representatives.
NITA is asking not only tourism and hospitality professionals, but all those with a stake in a brighter economic future for Northern Ireland to use the link http://www.afairtaxonflying.or... to email their MP to support a cut in UK Air Passenger Duty (APD) to help protect the jobs and prosperity supported by tourism in Northern Ireland and the wider UK.
She says, “Everyone who uses the link to email their MP makes the campaign stronger and increases the pressure on the Chancellor ahead of the autumn Budget. We’re calling on everyone to use the link and share this message with colleagues, friends and family. The time to act is now.”