Government to introduce new flight charge
Norway's government will follow France's lead and introduce a new flight tax, with funds raised earmarked to help the United Nations fight poverty.
"We will introduce a flight duty in the national budget for 2007," said Minister of International Development Erik Solheim.
Solheim arrived in Paris on Tuesday, where he and Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre are taking part in a conference to discuss new ways to finance the UN's work fighting poverty and epidemics.
France has decided to implement a flight tax from July 1, and will use the money raised to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in impoverished nations. Norway will follow suit but has yet to decide how the duty will work, how much it will be or how the money shall be used.
The Confederation of Norwegian Commercial and Service Enterprises (HSH) expressed immediate skepticism.
"This is a project that the industry is rather doubtful towards - we are of course positive about the goal, but we think the way it is done is wrong. It is better for the whole nation to contribute with support, than that just those who choose to fly pay," said travel industry director Rolf Forsdahl.
Forsdahl claims that Norway's travel industry is not alone.
"There is resistance to this in the organized travel sector in all of Europe," Forsdahl said.