The STA remains committed to working with all parties to ensure that Scotland¹s tourism industry is as competitive as it should be and APD is one of the key barriers to growth of our tourism economy. Whilst it is encouraging, and we are delighted to hear that the Conservative party have acknowledged this by supporting the removal of APD on long haul economy flights and the halving of the standard rate on long haul, we still feel despite this being a positive step in the right direction what is being proposed does not go far enough and more could and should have been offered up at this time. We therefore will continue to encourage their support for cuts in APD on other routes and ultimately total removal of APD in the longer term.
With this tax being devolved to Scotland there is no reason to restrict the thinking to the current Band A and Band B and as such, we believe that there is an alternate view that could and should be considered in respect of the three markets UK Domestic, Europe and Long until such time there is agreement to total remove APD from all.
Out with the UK, Europe is our biggest market and one that post Brexit vote, we must do all we can to continue to nurture and grow, not just for leisure tourism but for business travel and commerce too. It has the opportunity both for new route development and passenger growth which in turn will of course also bring with it associated job creation in many areas. Taking a decision to reduce European flight APD significantly would also send a strong positive political statement about Scotland's attitude to Europe one that further re enforces our message that "you are welcome" and "Scotland is open for business".
We maintain our position in supporting a cut of APD for all flights, a measure which has even more importance given the UK¹s decision to leave the EU and we cannot support proposals which in our view, will not deliver maximum benefit to our tourism economy. The STA will continue to push for the Scottish Government¹s promised 50% cut in APD to take effect as soon as possible. The longer this regressive tax is in place, the longer it will damage Scotland’s economy, our tourism potential and our ability to prosper as a nation. This is something which has also been recognised by our business and tourism partners. The reduction and eventual abolition of APD will play a major role in strengthening Scotland¹s connectivity, boosting the economy by an additional £1 billion, delivering 4,000 jobs, growing tourism and creating prosperity for Scotland.