Mon 29 Oct 2007 – The concept of imposing green taxes on the travel industry has been vigorously attacked by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE).
Speaking at the Association’s Global Education Conference in Hamburg, its president, Richard Crum, said: “The travel industry is currently being targeted for new green taxes and other economic measures on different national levels. ACTE is opposed to any taxation or penalizing of the travel industry for green issues. We will aggressively oppose these measures, and are working on a specific initiative in this regard.”
Whilst acknowledging that pushing the industry towards stronger environmental measures “obviously seems like a good idea on the surface”, Crum believes the travel industry is already far ahead of other commercial sectors in adopting cleaner and greener practices.
“These green taxes make no sense. History tells us that they are unlikely to have any direct effect on our actual goal of reducing the impact that travel has on our environment,” he said, contending that they could deplete any funding for advanced Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) research on the part of companies, needlessly drive up the cost of travel and reducing travel to emerging industrial regions that are now just able to support environmental programmes.
Crum also attacked “antiquated” air traffic control systems which “penalize even the most fuel-efficient carriers”. He suggested that “if governments want to make a serious dent in the 2% of the world’s carbon emissions resulting from air travel, they should focus their resources on eliminating congestion in the airways, not by charging travellers for the privilege of flying in circles due to ATC delays.”
ATCE is also turning its attention to green tax developments affecting departing passengers in the Netherlands. “Initial reports indicate the tax will have little impact on improving the environment and may be in violation of pre-existing aviation agreements,” said Crum.
He criticised the UK’s move from a duty on tickets to a charge based on the type and size of aircraft and the distance it will fly. “Again, this tax will have zero impact on the environment. It is just another example of a government using the excuse of global warming to raise general funds.
“The airlines are gearing up for more growth and the most efficient ways to support that expansion. They should be encouraged, not penalized. This is a classic example of why government needs to work with industry, instead of outside of it.”
ACTE plans to work with several other organizations, professional associations and travel groups on green tax issues.
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