13-Aug-2010 9:27 AM

UK Government plans to improve tourist numbers

UK Prime Minister David Cameron urged UK citizens to spend more on holidays at home and also wants to put the UK within the top five destinations in the world (guardian.co.uk, 12-Aug-2010/The Independent, 12-Aug-2010). Mr Cameron stated the UK has been underselling its tourism attractions and that income generated by the tourism industry is “fundamental” to rebuilding the nation’s economy. As part of the campaign, the government plans to remove obstacles deterring tourists, including improving the time it takes to clear customs at London Heathrow Airport.

Bristol Airport welcomed (12-Aug-2010) the plans, adding that the government should look carefully at changes to aviation taxes. [more]

Airport Operators Association also welcomed (12-Aug-2010) the Prime Minister's comments, also recommending the government look into relaxing aviation charges. [more]

UK Government: “I want to see us in the top five destinations in the world. But that means being much more competitive internationally. Take Chinese tourists, for example: we're their 22nd most popular destination. But Germany is forecast to break into their top 10. Why can't we? If we can't always beat Germany at football, then we can beat them at tourism,” David Cameron, Prime Minister. Source: guardian.co.uk, 12-Aug-2010.

Bristol Airport: “But it’s not just about providing good facilities for visitors. As an island nation, most visitors to the UK arrive by air. If the cost of air travel to the UK increases then a significant number of potential visitors will simply choose to travel to a different, more affordable destination. That’s why it is vital that the impacts on tourism are considered when the Government consults on proposed changes to taxes on aviation. Bristol Airport already works closely with airlines and tourism agencies to promote the many tourist attractions in the South West to inbound passengers. The appointment of a local MP, John Penrose, as Tourism Minister, can only help raise the profile of the region,” Robert Sinclair, CEO. Source: Bristol Airport, 12-Aug-2010.

Airport Operators Association: “We welcome the Prime Minister’s recognition of the importance of tourism to the UK. Almost 30 million people visited the UK last year and the vast majority of them arrived at our airports. The Prime Minister wants the UK to be one of the top five global tourism destinations. This ambition is less likely to be achieved with the UK’s high taxes on aviation. High flight taxes are a barrier to tourism, making the UK a more expensive destination than our competitors. The aim is for Britain to increase its share of the Chinese tourism market from 0.5% to 2.5%. But from November this year the tax on a flight from the UK to China will rise to GBP85; up from GBP40 in 2007. The Prime Minister says that this will be a government that understands the huge potential of our tourism industry. These words should be matched with action,” Ed Anderson, Chairman. Source: Airport Operators Association, 12-Aug-2010.

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