“Taxing connectivity means losing competitiveness” say worried tourism leaders
Business leaders of the tourism industry in the Canary Islands are joining forces to fight plans for an airline kerosene tax, as proposed by Germany, for fears of harming the archipelago’s connectivity.
Whilst attending the World Travel Market in London, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce of the Government of the Canary Islands, Yaiza Castilla held a meeting with the four main tourist employers of the Canaries in which they agreed a unified strategy.
The Minister met with the heads of the Insular Association of Businessmen of Hotels and Apartments of Lanzarote (Asolan), of the association of entrepreneurs of Fuerteventura Asofuer, of the Hotel Association of Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro (Ashotel) and the Federation of Hospitality and Tourism Entrepreneurs of Las Palmas (FEHT), Susana Pérez Represa, Antonio Hormiga, Jorge Marichal and José María Mañaricúa, respectively. They expressed their concern about the loss of competitiveness that may entail for the islands if airlines were subject to a kerosene tax, taking into account the Canarian dependence on air transport for the arrival of tourists.
The Minister of Tourism defended that “we cannot avoid the fact of what climate change entails and its consequences, so that both the public and private sectors must establish measures that effectively compensate for the damages we cause on the territory and the environment”. However, she added, we cannot fail to take into account that “our autonomous community is an island territory, fragmented and more than four hours from our main tourist issuing countries.”
Therefore, both employers and the Ministry of Tourism agree that a kerosene tax that severely affects the volume of CO2 emissions from airplanes would be a clear decrease in Canarian competitiveness compared to other competing destinations if, as expected, the tax depends on the kilometres travelled, among other concepts.
In principle, the strategy agreed by Yaiza Castilla with the four tourism employers is based on two lines of action. On the one hand, to promote from the Government of the Canary Islands an interces-sion by the Spanish Executive before the European Union for the defence of the exemption or reduction of the tax on air traffic with the archipelago.
And, on the other, the Ministry of Tourism, FEHT, Ashotel, Asolan and Asofuer agreed to design a package of transversal measures against climate change to be developed in the field of companies and in the Canary Islands’ public administration.
“Guaranteeing connectivity and the fight against climate change should not be exclusive policies and more so in the case of the Canary Islands, where the fight against climate change must adapt to the singularities of the archipelago,” said Yaiza Castilla.
“Tourism,” she added, “is our main economic sector and our visitors arrive by plane, so taxing connectivity means losing compe-titiveness against other destinations. However, we believe that we can maintain connectivity and fight against climate change from the Canary Islands, compensating the CO2 of the airplanes that transport tourists and other activities, with actions carried out by both the public and private sectors.”