Despite Recovery Rhetoric, Proposed Flight Taxes Could Hurt UK Tourism

Britain’s tourism industry certainly hasn’t enjoyed a lucrative year. From the Icelandic volcano and its cancellation fallout to the recent stream of bankruptcies in the private travel sector, some of the nation’s leading companies are no longer the powerhouses that they once were. Some have blamed the poor tourism sector on a weak economy, although others believe there’s significantly more to it.

Some, for example, have pointed to the rising role of the internet in travel as a reason for the poor performance of many travel resellers. Others claim that the industry is suffering due to a change in consumer spending habits, one that’s likely to have been encouraged by the limited budgets many families are now forced to contend with.

Whatever the cause, the outcome has been fairly bleak. Prime Minister David Cameron has claimed that the industry is of paramount importance to Britain, citing its £115 billion value as one of many reasons to work with tourism operators. But a proposed flight tax – one that’s likely to hit private tourism operators the hardest – appears to be working against his rhetoric.

Britain’s tourism industry is worth as much as the government claims, through their course of action for ensuring it survives has been met with criticism by insiders. Long haul flight taxes are projected to rise £30 – should the proposed taxes come into effect, the cost of flying to New York will include an estimated £85 in Air Passenger Duties alone.

It’s a prospect that’s leaving travel operators, and travellers themselves, feeling rather cheated. With tourism at an all-time low point and businesses continually closing doors, the flight taxes are likely to draw further criticism within the industry. For frequent travellers, we can only hope that they’re nothing more than speculation.