UNILATERAL, DISCRIMARORY TAXES ON LONG HAUL DESTINATIONS
JOINT COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY AUSTRALIA, KENYA, NEW ZEALAND, SEYCHELLES,
SINGAPORE, SOUTH AFRICA AND THE CARRIBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION AS
REPRESENTATIVE OF 33 LONG HAUL DESTINATIONS
At the invitation of the Minister for Tourism of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, tourism ministers and senior officials from Kenya (Hon. Balala), Australia, New Zealand, Seychelles, Singapore and the Caribbean Tourism Association convened in Berlin ITB 2011 to discuss the unilateral, discriminatory taxes imposed on travel to long-haul destinations by some European countries.
They issued a joint communiqué as stated below:
Having met in Berlin to discuss streamlining and growing our respective tourism industries; and noting that tourism is a major driver of job creation, poverty eradication, socio-economic development and people to people contact in our respective countries; and
Understanding that the sector is particularly important as a source of export revenue, contributing 30% of world services exports, amounting to US$ 1 trillion a year and 45% of the total service exports in developing countries, rendering it an important driver of growth in the global economy; and
Believing that the low-carbon development of sustainable eco-tourism destinations and sustainable modes of transport are critically important; and
Noting the increase in unilateral and discriminatory taxes imposed on international travel in a number of European countries; and
That aviation will in addition be included under the EU’s emissions trading systems from 2012; and
Noting our respective commitments under ICAO; Now therefore we express concern that:
these unilateral taxes and the basis of its calculation are inherently discriminatory favouring short flights over long haul travel; and more specifically some taxes discriminate against long haul destinations through the so called ‘distance banding’ based on distances to capital cities; and
The order of magnitude of these taxes on long haul destinations is excessive; and
The International Air Transport Association estimates that flight costs on these routes could increase by 3 -5%, which will have a negative impact on passenger numbers, tourist volumes and downstream tourist receipts in long-haul destinations and we stress that:
there is no practical alternative to air travel when it comes to long-haul destinations, whereas travellers in Europe may choose to avoid the burden of extra taxes by resorting to rail, road or ferry modes of transport; and
as likeminded long-haul destinations, we are concerned about the long-term negative impacts that these taxes will have on our competitiveness; and
there is need to avoid duplicative measures that could undermine progress towards a multilateral approach.
We therefore call on those countries involved to reconsider these excessive, discriminatory taxes that adversely affect long-haul destinations, including many developing economies.
Recognising the ongoing efforts by various countries and regions, we have extended an invitation to other countries affected by these unilateral, discriminatory taxes to become part of the process.
Dated: 11th March 2011, 10.30 am, ITB Berlin, Germany