Visit Scotland and Edinburgh Airport have today said that the Scottish Government detailing their plans and timetable on cutting Air Passenger Duty (APD) will help deliver a domestic tourism boom.
As reported in today’s Sunday Post, Scotland’s leading airport also said that the details will make confirmation of a direct route to China “within touching distance”.
In recent weeks the UK government has removed the Chinese bilateral agreement, an arrangement form a previous era aimed at protecting flag-carrier airlines. This move will go some way to maximising connectivity to this huge and growing economy to harvest the enormous opportunities for trade and tourism.
The next step – one which could be pivotal in helping to deliver a vital direct link between China and Scotland and other long haul routes – is the Scottish Government detailing and timetabling their long promised cut to APD.
Commenting, Edinburgh Airport’s Chief Executive Gordon Dewar, said:
“We campaigned for Air Passenger Duty to be devolved and it is now vital that the Scottish Government detail how they will deliver their 50 per cent cut as swiftly as possible - to bring growth for the country’s domestic tourism industry, generate jobs and give Scotland a competitive edge over the rest of the UK.
“I urge all politicians who support economic growth to back a swift 50 per cut to APD. The benefits that this will bring will be transformational for Scotland’s connectivity and inbound tourism market.
“People on all incomes use air travel. An additional £13 short haul or £73 long haul might seem like buttons for top earners but for a family of ordinary hard working Scots, or indeed hard working Polish families or Chinese-Scots or Pakistani-Scots - who fly between their two countries once or twice a year, it can be the difference of meeting their budget or not.
“Crucially APD fees are a huge disincentive for airlines that see Scotland as having a restrictive tax regime - this limits the opportunities of domestic businesses and hampers global businesses’ trade and invest here.
“The Scottish Government was recently unequivocal in its support for one London airport over another – now it must use the powers that it has to show that it is totally committed to backing the growth of Scottish Airports and inbound tourism.”
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:
"Scottish tourism punches above its weight on the world stage and we need to leverage this reputation to bring new investment, new events, new airlines and new visitors. Decreases in APD would make Scotland one of the most competitive destinations in the world and bring a further boost to visitor numbers, in particular to our key long-haul markets, at a time when international visitor spend is reaching record levels."
Notes: See today’s Sunday Post, page 9.