2014 Tourism- hit by Westminster's Air Travel Tax


The series of events and sporting occasions and the associated tourism opportunities that go with them in 2014 are a fantastic opportunity for developing and growing the tourism industry in Scotland. The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow - the Ryder Cup and of course Scotland’s Year of Homecoming 2014 are going to be potentially huge boosts.


However there is still a blight over air travel to and from Scotland in the shape of the Air Passenger Duty – which despite pleas from airlines – airports operators and tourism industry leaders, which Westminster not only continues to levy on Scotland but has astonishingly increased it in the Autumn Statement.


Angus MacNeil MP, SNP Transport spokesperson commented:


“One of the great things to look forward to in 2014 is the potential to be a memorable year for tourism in Scotland.  As a destination it is massively enhanced by some of the major events  being held this year – such as  the Glasgow Commonwealth games – which is  shaping up to be the biggest and best sporting event in Scotland’s history – and the Ryder Cup which puts Scotland on the map as the venue for world class golf.


“It therefore defies any logic that in this year of Homecoming - when we should be welcoming and encouraging people to come to Scotland to enjoy all it has to offer – Westminster has yet again raised the APD levy on flights. Scotland is penalised under the current system - APD has sky-rocketed in recent years. George Osborne’s autumn statement confirms there will be no let up and that Scots are now forced to pay even more in APD after the UK Government confirmed that the tax would rise for the sixth time in as many years. The leader’s of Scotland’s three busiest airports as well as business leaders in the tourism industry have all gone on record fearing that the APD is at a tipping point where the damage it is doing is outweighing even any revenue benefits for Mr Osborne.  


“The Scottish Government’s announced plan to cut Air Passenger Duty (APD) by 50% with the powers of an independent Scotland, with a view to abolishing it completely in the future.


“If Scotland had powers to set our own APD rates we could give our aviation industry and travellers a better and fairer deal, cheaper holiday costs and businesses a competitive tax regime which is more in line with mainland European nations. It is clear that this can only be delivered with a Yes vote next September.”




APD - the unwanted Christmas present http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/News/Air-Passenger-Duty-%3A-the-unwanted-Christmas%20present


- The section on APD in Scotland’s Future: Your guide to an independent Scotland. can be found at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/11/9348/7

- The cost of APD is £13 per passenger each way on a flight up to 2,000 miles. 

- A family of 4 going from Aberdeen/Edinburgh/Glasgow to anywhere else in the UK or most of Europe would pay £104 in APD.  Under the Scottish Government’s proposal they would pay £78 - a reduction of 25% because the current UK rates would apply to the return trip.


- For a European trip direct from Scotland a family of 4 would currently pay £104.  That would reduce to £52, a reduction of 50%.




In February2013 a Price Waterhouse Cooper  report commissioned by British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic showed that it was the highest tax of its type in the world and its abolition would create 60,000 jobs in the UK.

The report can be read here: http://corporate.easyjet.com/~/media/Files/E/Easyjet-Plc-V2/pdf/content/APD-study-Abridged.pdf

A report by York Aviation commissioned last year by Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports concluded that the current level of APD would see Scotland lose two million passengers and £210 million a year in tourist spend by 2016.

The report can be read here: http://www.glasgowairport.com/static/Glasgow/Downloads/PDF/APD-York_Aviation-report-Oct-2012.pdf