Taxing tourism

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It is disappointing to note that one reason why BA has axed its route from Aberdeen to London City is partly due to air passenger duty (APD), leading to a failure to deliver commercial viability.

This tax, paid by those flying into and out of Scotland, has increased markedly, rising sharply since 2007 and putting the Scottish tourism sector – worth £1.2 billion in exports and supporting 185,900 jobs – at a competitive disadvantage when compared with competitor economies.

Figures obtained from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) show that, for example, in 2007 a family of four travelling to Florida would have paid £80 in APD for their trip. Today, this tax would cost them £276.

For those coming to Scotland, APD puts our tourism sector at a price disadvantage given that most international tourists arriving in Scotland travel via London airports.

Scotland is therefore at a particular disadvantage since APD is paid on international flights into and out of London and on flights between London and Scottish airports.

As our Scotland Means Business reports have recommended, any attempts to reduce the rate of air passenger duty as it impacts on Scotland would be greatly welcomed, ensuring that those flying from Scotland are not penalised and that our tourism potential as a nation is fully realised.

Graeme Blackett


Pentlandfield, Roslin