Singapore Airlines (SIA) has highlighted the need for Britain to work with Asian companies and remain a ‘global business centre’ to boost its economy. Speaking at SIA’s 24th Annual Parliamentary Reception last week, SIA General Manager for the UK and Ireland Joey Seow said: “There is opportunity for Britain to tap into the strong growth in Asia.” This would not only help boost visitor numbers to the country but also maintain the UK’s aviation industry. “For Britain to continue to compete in this international market place, it must remain a global business centre,” urged Seow. SIA has supported the industry through its Airbus and engine orders but Seow also hinted at how the airline could help bring tourists to Britain. “As people’s purchasing power increases in developing nations, more people, and particularly those from East Asia, will want to come here to do business and enjoy a vacation,” said Seow. “It goes without saying that the aviation industry is essential for increasing leisure and business tourism to the UK. We look forward to doing all we can to aid the Government in promoting this country.” Singapore’s GDP grew by 19.3% in this year’s second quarter and there have also been similar spurts across Asia including China. However, he warned that the Government’s taxes could stop this growth. “I hope to express our belief that a per-plane tax could damage the tourist industry to which we contribute,” explained Seow. “There is a real risk that those tourists from further afield may choose to spend their holidays elsewhere in Europe as Britain’s taxes increase disproportionately.” He used the example of the Netherlands, which has now abolished its plane tax after its tourism industry was significantly affected.