As millions of people prepare to fly around the world for the holiday season, Germany’s travel and tourism industry could lose out to rival destinations, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The WTTC points to the German government’s recently enacted air passenger departure tax, which has already caused airberlin and Ryanair to cut capacity and services in the country next summer. The warning comes as emerging destinations become increasingly popular options for leisure and business travellers.
Since 2007, both Turkey and Malaysia have entered the top 10 of the world’s leading destinations as their international tourist arrivals increase. The WTTC has long made the case against such passenger taxes, particularly the UK’s Air Passenger Duty, believing them a barrier to the full growth potential of the industry and distorting the market by unfairly penalising certain destinations.
“Governments continue to milk the travel and tourism ‘cash cow’ with little thought for an industry that can create jobs, generate exports and stimulate investment to power sustainable economic growth,” says WTTC president David Scowsill. “The UK’s Air Passenger Duty has long set a dangerous and unhealthy precedent and it is disappointing that the German government has also seen fit to penalize the industry and millions of travellers in this way.”
Distance-based systems unfairly penalize the economic prosperity of long-haul destinations, argues the WTTC. In the case of the UK’s Air Passenger Duty for example, the Caribbean is unfairly placed in a higher taxed band than destinations which are further away like Hawaii and America’s west coast. “If such passenger taxes are necessary,” argues Scowsill, “a more sensible approach has been taken by the United States government. Instead of taxation that goes straight into the Treasury for all kinds of uses, the US system treats passengers from all destinations equally and a proportion of the money generated is reinvested in measures to support tourism growth. It’s time the German and UK Treasury departments stopped feeding from the Travel & Tourism trough.”