The UK Air Passenger Duty tax (APD) is an unfair penalty on tourism, according to New Zealand and Australian tourism leaders, who expect the new charge to accelerate declining British visitors heading down under.
Following the APD increase from Ł85 for each economy class passenger to Ł92 and from Ł170 for premium class passengers to Ł184 from 1 April this year, Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) Australia chief executive John Lee said the tax rise would continue to have a negative impact on arrivals from the UK, possibly increasing the 5.9 percent drop in British travellers to Australia in 2011 compared to the prior year.
"The APD impedes tourism, travel, trade and economic growth and unfairly penalises British residents wishing to visit long-haul destinations like Australia and New Zealand, Mr Lee said.
"It also slugs visitors to Britain from long-haul source markets and Malaysian-based carrier Air Asia X has cited today's hike as a factor in its decision to cease flights between Gatwick and Kuala Lumpur.
Concerns are also making their way through New Zealand, with Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) policy and research manager Simon Wallace describing the tax as an iniquitous burden on long-haul tourism.
According to Government statistics, New Zealand also saw a drop in British arrivals last year compared to the prior year with a four percent fall.
Mr Wallace said the UK tax was the highest departure tax in the world and would is likely deter familiar of four who would be expected to pay up to NZ$736 to leave the country.
"The APD is a tax on tourism which reaps billions of pounds in revenue for the British government masquerading as environmental policy which will simply price more potential visitors to Australia and New Zealand out of the market, Mr Wallace added.
"Persistent poor economic conditions in Europe mean consumer confidence remains low and reducing the likelihood of people to take a long-haul holiday, so now is not the time to introduce another barrier.
"We are urging the New Zealand and Australian governments to make our concerns clear to the British government and to point out that the policy will make visiting the UK more expensive for Australians and New Zealanders.
"This could have the unintended consequence of reducing the number of tourists visiting Britain from long-haul source markets."
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J