The British Hospitality Association has called on Chancellor George Osborne to help stimulate UK rural and coastal tourism, as it welcomed plans to cut Air Passenger Duty (APD) for the under 12s.
In his Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne is today expected to abolish air tax on flights for children under 12, from April 2015. APD can currently add between £13 to £97 to the cost of a flight depending on how far the final destination is from London, which critics claim is often the deciding factor in whether families can afford to go on holiday.
However, while BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said the cut was good news for the outbound tourism industry, she called for greater support for the coastal and rural areas of the UK, which badly needed government investment.
She said: "The real issue is the government help that's urgently needed by struggling coastal and rural regions of our country. The chancellor has missed an important opportunity to help thousands of small and medium sized hospitality enterprises, upon which so many coastal and rural communities depend for their jobs and livelihoods."
Ibrahim added that the BHA had hoped the government would help regenerate these areas via the Coastal Communities Fund, and make reforms to stimulate domestic and inbound tourism and investment.
Referencing the new road investment strategy, which on Monday saw the government announce a £15b commitment to the UK road network by 2021, she said: "We are much more excited about [the roads] than we are in the announcement on APD. However, the investment in roads alone will not be enough to stimulate urgently needed economic growth through tourism in coastal and rural areas."
The BHA response comes amid wider support for the cut within the aviation industry, as campaigners such as A Fair Tax on Flying had sought to abolish the APD.
The BHA aims to represent hotels, serviced apartments, restaurants, foodservice and leisure companies, and seeks to offer market intelligence to government and business supporters. It is also campaigning to see the creation of 300,000 new hospitality jobs by 2020. It is a leading advocate of the Cut Tourism VAT campaign, which seeks to reduce the tourism VAT from 20% to 5%.