The latest rise in Air Passenger Duty (APD), announced by Chancellor George Osborne this week, has been universally criticised by representatives of the UK tourism industry.
Air taxes are set to rise by 2.5 per cent from April 2013,increasing the cost of air travel from UK airports. This latest tax hike was implemented in the face of widespread opposition from industry experts and the British public. A recent survey by the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) found that 64 per cent of Brits considered APD rates too high, even before the latest increase was announced.
"The Government is disregarding the will of the people by continuing to increase APD, and ignoring widespread calls by MPs for a simple review into what is the highest air passenger tax in the world by far," commented Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association.
Dale Keller, the chief executive of BAR UK, which represents the interests of more than 80 airlines, was also incredulous.
"The latest increase takes us dangerously beyond the tipping point where the impact can only be negative to the economy, " said Mr Keller.
"The announcement comes as unsurprising from a government that is not listening to the wider industry, or international opinion, and is self destructive to its own objectives of attracting foreign investment and tourism," he added.
The chief executive of Abta, Mark Tanzer, also expressed his disappointment with the government's latest decision.
"Tourism is a sector that the prime minister has previously outlined as a key growth opportunity and yet once again the government has announced a rise in APD, strangling the industry's potential."