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UK Tax Discouraging Visitors

Holiday taxes will hit inbound tourism

David Browne, eTN  Nov 08, 2009

Increased taxes on travel will discourage visitors to Britain as people avoid paying them. That was the key message from Jack Coronna, president of ETOA, speaking at the 20th anniversary ETOA Conference. He said the UK government could learn from other European states that had abolished departure taxes and other charges on travelers.

"The UK government has raised airport departure taxes this month by between 10 and 40 percent and will raise them again in a year's time. This is an insane and savage penalty on a group who can - and will - choose not to pay it. UK citizens may find it difficult to avoid paying this imposition, but tourists from elsewhere can easily avoid doing so - by staying away," he said.

"Thankfully some European governments have taken a more enlightened approach. The Netherlands imposed such a tax and have since abolished it after they were convinced it led to marginal fiscal gains but had a definite negative economic impact," he continued.

Mr. Coronna described the Netherlands move as an example of a government realizing a policy was a mistake and served no-one's interests and so scrapped it.

"Tourism should be an engine of growth, but cannot be if it is taxed heavily," he said. "ETOA has lobbied over 20 years for more recognition for Europe's inbound tourism industry. Our members have a huge impact on Europe's economic wellbeing, both in terms of revenue and jobs."

Source: European Tour Operators Association

Holiday taxes will hit inbound tourism
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