Fairness & Air Passenger Duty

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Zohair Garramah is the Minister of Tourism for Egypt. He is also one of the few – come to think of it probably the only minister I have come across – who has tourism experience because he used to be a hotelier. Consequently when he speaks, he speaks with a little more experience than the usual politician. In London yesterday he criticised the doubling of our Air Passenger Duty (APD) earlier in the month.
His criticism was not against the tax in general. In existing times, raising revenue from travellers seems fair game to all. His objection echoes that raised by some of the Caribbean nations. That it is unfair in its structure. It is unfair because it is in bands he said and Egypt is treated differently to its tourism rivals in the Mediterranean. Egypt just gets pushed into the next band whereby a family of 4 would get charged £200 in taxes to go to there. In Greece, it would be a lot cheaper.
The same criticism has been levied, as I said, by the Caribbean nations. If you go to the USA, the same tax applies whether you go to New York or California despite the fact that there are a few thousand miles between them. The reason is APD is based on the first contact point and that applies to the whole country. The same applies to Canada whether you go to Toronto or Vancouver. The Caribbean nations are lumped together as being in the much more expensive next band so they fear fewer tourists next year. As do Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
Egypt is very popular for Britons. The estimated number of us going this year is 1.45 million up by over 100,000 over 2009 which was up by about 140,000 over 2008. Egypt attracts because it has proved to be good value of money; is outside the eurozone so sterling brought more and it has a mix of culture, heritage and beach holiday offerings. Now Mr Garramah is not so sure that APD rises will let growth continue at this speed.

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