Despite strong calls for reform from industry and passengers, the Government has revealed that it will not make any structural changes to Air Passenger Duty (APD) following a lengthy consultation process. The announcement follows the recently launched Autumn Statement, which revealed a 10% increase in APD from April next year. 
ABTA has been calling for the Government to freeze the increase in APD; change the banding structure to two bands to make it fairer; and reduce the amount of tax paid on premium Economy seats to ensure they are not classed in the same way as Business and First. The association has also been campaigning for short-haul flights from Northern Ireland to be exempt from the tax, given the shared land border with the Republic of Ireland. The Government has already announced that long-haul flights from Northern Ireland will be subject to reduced rates of APD and the revenues saved by this will be offset by the inclusion of business jets. 
The association's CEO, Mark Tanzer, said: “The Government has rejected all common sense recommendations from industry to reform this tax and gone ahead with a 10% increase. To completely ignore all recommendations after a lengthy consultation is extremely disappointing.   "The Government has missed an opportunity to make this tax fairer and instead has increased the burden on British businesses, passengers and popular destinations, such as the Caribbean that are caught by unfair banding. If the Chancellor believes that tourism is critical to boosting growth in the UK economy, he needs to give the industry a break and reconsider these decisions.”

The Government also stated that it will not offset revenues raised through the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) against APD, meaning that passengers will be taxed twice when they fly from January 2012.
Under the current banding structure, countries are banded based on where their capital city is located. This has given rise to tax burdens on destinations such as the Caribbean where holidaymakers pay more tax than they would to fly to Hawaii. 
ABTA will meet with other industry groups as part of the Fair Tax on Flying Campaign to refocus its efforts on calling for a fairer tax regime.

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Meanwhile, the association is launching a new campaign to encourage travellers to ‘Get Fit for Ski’, providing health & safety advice and recommended warm-up exercises.

To coincide with the campaign, ABTA, in partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Ski Club Great Britain, has also developed a Winter Sports Checklist with advice and tips for skiers.

The association's head of destinations and sustainability, Nikki White, said: “A little preparation can help ensure your skiing holiday goes without a hitch. It’s not unusual to be out on the slopes for four to six hours at a time, yet many people go straight into a ski or snowboarding holiday without doing any training or preparation first. Preparing before you go can help prevent injury and ensure you don’t miss out on the fun. Additionally, having the right equipment, knowing your limits when it comes to après ski and buying appropriate insurance, will all help your holiday go smoothly.”

Top tips from the ABTA/FCO and Ski Club GB Winter Sports Checklist include:  Be physically prepared; Get the right insurance; Stay sun safe; and check before travel for the latest country advice and tips. In-resort tips include Know your limits on alcohol; Keep hydrated; Stretch and warm up; Choose the right piste for your level; Be sensible off piste; and be avalanche aware.

To see more about the campaign and download the “How to Have a Safe and Healthy Winter Sports Holiday” leaflet and Winter Sports checklist visit

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