APD Over-reacting to APD rises Nov 8th 2012, 18:02 by A.B. THE annual travel-industry report published at this week’s World Travel Market makes a predictable attack on Air Passenger Duty (APD), the tax charged on every passenger flying out of Britain, except those on transfers. Tourists may wince at paying visa fees, resort taxes, sales taxes and the like—but these are as nothing to the horrors of ADP, which the report says is "possibly the most controversial and long-running of all the taxes on the tourism industry". The British travel industry has been riled by APD since its introduction in 1994, but it is currently getting particularly exercised by the increases planned to take effect next year. APD charges depend on the class of travel and the distance of the capital city of the destination country from London. For Band D flights (over 6,000 miles) the so-called “reduced rate”, which applies in economy class, is to rise from £92 ($147) to £94. In Band C (4,001-6,000 miles) it rises from £81 to £83 and in Band B (2,001 to 4,000 miles) from £65 to £67. Those rises are roughly in line with inflation. In Band A, which applies throughout Europe, the £13 charge will stay the same. Given those figures, I find it hard to understand why so many Britons say that the increases will force them to make fundamental changes to their travelling plans. The report's compilers interviewed over 1,000 holidaymakers and asked them for their responses to the rises: 19% said they would reduce the number of overseas holidays they take; 26% said they would only go on short-haul holidays; and 5% said they would only holiday in the UK. Hmm. Band-A APD is staying the same, so the suggestion that 1 in 5 tourists are so put off by the thought of paying another £2 per person for trips in Bands B to D, that they will forgo a holiday abroad does not make sense. After all, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation the 62.3m "international tourist arrivals" welcomed by America (Band B) last year spent $116.3 billion—a wallet-busting average of over $1,800 a head. And if you normally travel to a Band B destination and you’re peeved by the increase in APD, don't sulk at home; travel to a Band-A country. The Greeks will gladly take your money. While I don't doubt that, for example, Band-C destinations in the Caribbean have seen their tourism industries suffer from the recent increases, I don't see how these latest rises can inspire such dramatic responses from holidaying Britons. Perhaps I’m missing something about the science of tipping points and the way straws break vacationing camels’ backs. But I do wonder whether the mention of a change in APD simply produces a kneejerk reaction from tourists, a desire to show the government that they can only be pushed so far. Or indeed whether it provides a convenient excuse for families feeling impoverished by the world's financial crises to justify saving money and staying at home.