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The Tourism Council has expressed its concern about the travel surcharge proposed by the German Government, which will come into effect from 1st January 2011. From this date all air passengers will have to pay an extra €8 to travel to Europe and North Africa, €25 per person on medium-haul journeys and €45 for long distance destinations, such as America or Australia. The aim, apart from reducing the Governments deficit, is to encourage people to holiday in their own country and not to travel abroad, thus promoting home trade and helping the economy. This year the German market travelling to the Balearics has made a significant recovery, but it is feared this new tax will ensure numbers fall once again next summer.

However, the President of the Travel Agents Association on the island, Antoni Torres, is one of those who does not believe that having to pay a surcharge of €8 will stop Germans from travelling, although he did add it will probably mean they spend that bit less when they do arrive. It was reported that some German travel agencies are already charging their customers the surcharge when booking holidays for next year.

ABTA, the Association of British Travel Agents, claimed it was to seek confirmation from the German Government that in two years time they will axe the new aviation tax. At the time of announcing the measures the Government reconfirmed that it will scrap the tax in 2012 when the EU’s emission trading scheme [ETS] comes into effect.

Luke Pollard, ABTA Head of Public Affairs, said “The introduction of this tax is a seriously regressive step that will impact on UK visitor numbers to Germany and Germans coming to the UK. The German Government has previously stated that this tax would be a temporary measure and abolished in 2012 when the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme [ETS] comes into effect and we will be writing to obtain confirmation that this is still their intention. In addition ABTA also believes strongly that the UK’s own aviation tax, APD, should also be reconsidered when we enter ETS in two years time.”

In 2008 the Dutch Government abolished a similar tax giving the reason that the revenue raised was far less than the revenue lost due to a decrease in traffic as customers switched to competing airports in France and Germany.

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