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Wednesday 26 February 2003, 2:54 PM

The Tourism Alliance has reacted angrily to the Chancellor’s leaked plans to double the rate of Air Passenger Duty.

Richard Tobias, Tourism Alliance Deputy Chairman said: "I cannot believe that Gordon Brown is seriously considering announcing an increase in Air Passenger Duty at a time when the tourism industry is in such difficulty". "Right now travel agents and tour operators are facing a very uncertain future, and for many survival is the primary objective. Anything that increases the costs for visitors wishing to travel to this country, as well as for those planning to go abroad, is to be resisted as strongly as possible” he continued. "The Chancellor seems to take the view that Britain's travel and tourism industry is under-taxed. This is nonsense with thousands of companies, as well as millions of ordinary working people whose livelihoods depend on tourism, contributing billions of pounds in taxes to the Exchequer each year". "Air Passenger Duty alone currently raises over £800 million annually. A family of four flying into or out of Britain to a non-European destination would be paying £160 in Air Passenger Duty under Mr Brown’s plans – that is just unsustainable” “Understandably, with increasing public expenditure commitments, the Chancellor is keen to raise additional revenue. But the last industry he should be harming is the travel and tourism industry – an industry that has taken the brunt of recent political decisions and is struggling to recover from the effects of the events of September 11th” as well as an impending possible conflict in the Middle East” Tobias concluded. Ends NOTES FOR EDITORS  The Tourism Alliance is an alliance of seventy private and public sector bodies promoting Britain’s tourism industry. It was created with the encouragement of the Culture, Media & Sport Secretary of State to co-ordinate and facilitate communications between government and the tourism industry.  Tourism is a devolved power that falls to the Scottish Parliament in Scotland and the National Assembly for Wales in Wales. In England tourism is sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The Tourism Alliance speaks for tourism in England and also addresses national issues such as taxation and skills development.  Conservative Chancellor Kenneth Clarke introduced Air Passenger Duty in 1994. MEDIA CONTACTS For further press enquiries please telephone Karishma Chandaria on 020 7395 8246. Richard Tobias’s mobile telephone number is 07710 098 110. Tourism Alliance, CBI Centre Point, 103 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1DU -- admin

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