VisitScotland welcomes airports’ tax call


Air Passenger Duty highest in Europe


VisitScotland Chairman, Mike Cantlay today (November 1) added his voice to those of the big three Scottish airports, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh, by saying that air passenger duty needed to be reviewed urgently if Scottish tourism was to thrive in the future.


“Times are tough for tourism businesses, and visitors are increasingly looking for best value - but air passenger duty has the potential to damage the visitor economy and we need the UK Government to look at how we can make our tourism industry more competitive.”


He pointed to a family of four from India or China having to pay £300 to add the UK to their European itinerary or a couple from Australia having to pay £340 to fly premium economy to the UK.


“Having a tax like this, when we have a backdrop of economic gloom in the most competitive industry in the world, is adding to concerns that the UK and Scotland may price itself out of the market for foreign visitors.


“We have incredible potential to grow Scottish tourism and benefit the economy.    People envy our position in the world tourism market, with such icons as our amazing landscapes, cities, golf, whisky and the warmth of our welcome, but our research also shows that value for money is becoming a much stronger influencer when deciding where to go on holiday.


“With the massive potential we’ve already seen with Brave, and with Scotland preparing to welcome the world in 2014 any disincentive to travel is unwelcome.”


“We are particularly reliant on air service access and UK Air Passenger Duty is the highest of any major European country - we would urge the government to consider either scrapping or reducing the tax, particular for inbound visitors.”




For further information please contact:

James Fox
Corporate Press Officer
Corporate Communications
Tel: 0131 472 2052



Notes to Editors

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  • The organisation has three key roles:
    1. To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
    2. To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
    3. To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • The years between 2012 and 2014 are Scotland’s Winning Years - From the Year of Creative Scotland, the Olympics and Disney-Pixar’s film Brave in 2012 through to the Commonwealth Games, The Ryder Cup and Homecoming in 2014 everyone has the chance to prosper.
  • The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face to face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24million for Scotland’s economy. 
  • Tourism contributes £11bn to the Scottish economy*. This includes direct overnight and day visit expenditure by visitors to Scotland as well as indirect expenditure relating to tourism in the economy *Independent report from Deloitte, 2010
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