Tax levied on airline tickets is preventing business growth outside London and the southeast, according to new research.
In a report entitled The Voice of the Regional Business Traveller, the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) surveyed 1,039 business travellers who make long haul trips at least three times a year.
A third of respondents said they would do more business abroad if air passenger duty (APD) were reduced.
Earlier this year GTMC chief executive Paul Wait welcomed a government decision to cut APD on certain flights.
But addressing delegates at the organisation’s annual conference in Marrakech, he called on politicians to review its negative impact on the economy.
“Everyone knows it’s unfair and is easy money for the Treasury,” he said.
“We understand why they want the money, but it is important for politicians to recognise the damage being done to business.
“It’s important we keep up the pressure to ensure the rate of APD keeps going down.”
The survey also found 43% of travellers in the regions either regularly or occasionally take non-direct flights to avoid paying APD.
More than a third said they used non-UK hub airports because of better and more convenient flight times, while 27% said they use European hubs because their closest airport don’t offer the necessary destinations.
If Heathrow offered a wider range of destinations, 34% said they would choose the London hub over its Continental competitors.
“Huge numbers of regional business travellers are not flying from their closest airport or via a UK hub as they simply don’t offer routes to the destinations required. Unless this is addressed the UK economy will continue to lose out,” said Wait.