The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has formed a new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Visitor Economy in a bid to help boost tourism revenues.
The new group will campaign for a reduction of VAT on tourism, which it says will increase visitor numbers and investment across the whole of Britain and Northern Ireland. The UK’s current rate of 20% is almost twice the European average. Currently 25 of 27 EU countries have reduced tourism VAT. A reduction in rates would directly affect businesses such as hotels and restaurants.
The APPG estimates that reducing VAT will raise tax paid to the Exchequer by £3.9 billion over ten years, create 123,000 new jobs, help low earners, and increase the competitiveness of regions that rely heavily on tourism, such as seaside and rural communities.
Co-chair Margaret Ritchie MP, said: 'The tourism industry is central to many sectors of the economy in Britain and Northern Ireland – in fact in some it can be the catalyst for economic growth and job creation. It provides enormous potential for growth and productivity. We have a real opportunity to boost tourism, and with the APPG's Cross Party support, I have renewed confidence that our voice can be heard across Parliament, in the Treasury and in wider Government circles.'