Hospitality Ulster has called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to scrap Air Passenger Duty with immediate effect.
The body has stated that news on the unknown future of Flybe has shone a bright light on the negative impact that the duty has had on the airline, and adds that the tax is putting Northern Ireland, in particular, at a distinct disadvantage with other European destinations.
Air Passenger Duty
The Chief Executive of Hospitality Ulster has said that the tax puts the local hospitality sector in a precarious position as visitors and tourists decide to go elsewhere which means the local economy is potentially missing out on millions of additional spend.
Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster said today: “We call on the Chancellor to intervene and abolish this unnecessary tax which pushes up airfares and actively discourages tourists from coming here as we struggle to compete with other destinations in Europe.”
“The knock on impact that this has for the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland should not be underestimated. It deters visitors from coming here and hinders the growth of a sector that benefits the whole economy.”
“The Chancellor set out in his budget in 2018 a commitment to review APD and that a technical group would be set up. This has proved to be nothing but hot air and now we have a real and present problem brought about by inertia. It’s time to act now on this tax to help promote tourism and hospitality, not strangle it.”
Graham Keddie, Managing Director of Belfast International Airport added: “It is very clear that APD is a competitive disadvantage to Northern Ireland, the tourism and hospitality sectors, and the wider economy.”
“Maintaining APD makes no sense, a fact recognised by the Republic of Ireland, which abolished its airport tax a number of years ago and which has reaped the benefits.”
“Abolishing APD would allow Northern Ireland to better compete for more flights and routes into Northern Ireland, helping the region grow visitor numbers and the attendant visitor spend.”
“Many additional jobs could be created if we had the economic leverage of removing the tax from flights. It would have a significantly positive effect and we join Hospitality Ulster in its call to scrap it.”