United Kingdom

£3bn tax loss fuels travel ban backlash: Grounding of planes has blown hole in Treasury coffers

The backlash over the foreign holidays roadmap intensified last night as figures showed the grounding of planes has blown a £3billion hole in Treasury coffers.

The collapse in air passenger duty revenues sparked calls to speed up the reopening of foreign travel after just 12 destinations were cleared for quarantine-free trips from May 17.

Many of the destinations are remote or have very strict entry measures or blanket bans on UK tourists. Portugal and Gibraltar are the only countries on the ‘green list’ that most Britons will realistically be able to visit this month.

Figures showed the grounding of planes has blown a £3billion hole in Treasury coffers

Tourism chiefs are also furious at ministers advising travellers not to visit countries ranked ‘amber’, such as Spain, Italy, France and Greece. It means visitors are likely to struggle to get travel insurance, effectively putting the destinations out of bounds.

There is hope that more European hotspots will make the green list by the end of June once three-weekly reviews get under way. The first will be on June 7.

It came as new figures showed the Treasury received just £582million in APD between April 2020 and 2021, compared with around £3.6billion annually before the pandemic.

The wider economy has taken a further hit of billions of pounds due to the shutdown of international travel.

Gloria Guevara, of the World Travel and Tourism Council, said: ‘After suffering the biggest fall in contribution towards GDP from travel and tourism of the ten most important global markets – by a staggering 62.5 per cent – the UK can ill afford to be this cautious.’

Karen Dee, of the Airport Operators Association, said: ‘The figures show just how near-complete the collapse in air traffic has been as a result of the pandemic.

‘It is disappointing that the number of nations on the green list remains extremely limited and that vaccinated people are subject to restrictions when travelling to low-risk nations.’

There is hope that more European hotspots will make the green list by the end of June, boosting options for millions of Britons

Tory MP Henry Smith, chairman of the all-party future of aviation group, said: ‘We need to re-open to more nations as soon as possible to allow much needed summer holidays, to restart leisure travel and to reunite families.’

÷ Negotiations are being held over playing the UEFA Champions League final in the UK, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said yesterday. The match, between Manchester City and Chelsea, was due to be held in Istanbul on May 29. But Turkey was added to the UK Government’s travel ban ‘red list’ on Friday.

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