tourist firms could benefit from VAT reduction
tourism chiefs are lobbying MPs in a bid to reduce the rate of VAT
levied on accommodation and attraction entry tickets which could
help businesses in the Burnham-On-Sea area.
The campaign by Visit Somerset comes on the back of Brexit and comments
by a government minister.
John Whittingdale said: "If we wanted, for example, to abolish
VAT on accommodation or attractions, we could now do so. We couldnt
have done when we were in the European Union."
John Turner, chief executive of Visit Somerset, the official Destination
Management Organisation for the county, said: "If Somerset
is going to gain real competitive advantage we cannot just rely
on the weak pound but need to be looking at other opportunities
to create even greater demand for our tourism services."
"Now that the government is facing further austerity or mirroring
the Bank of Englands emergency plans to boost the economy,
perhaps a VAT cut would be welcome in one of the few remaining industry's
that is still enjoying growth nationally andnews regionally. Further
action needs to be taken to not tax more but incentivise more tourists
to our country and for those already here to spend more time in
the UK and especially Somerset."
"We have an unrivalled marketing communications portfolio now
but nothing beats price point and a VAT cut could really help make
Somerset hugely more competitive."
Antony Brunt, a Director of Visit Somerset and hotel owner, said:
"In the UK, our small independent hotels of perhaps 10 to 50
bedrooms which for decades have been the mainstay of English tourism
are in danger of severe decline because they are having to compete
with smaller guest houses and B&Bs which due to their
size are exempt from business rates and are below the VAT registration
threshold in effect giving a 20% price differential."
"I have promoted holidays to England at various European travel
shows over the last five years including shows in Brussels, Stuttgart,
Utrecht and Copenhagen. There is an overwhelming desire by Europeans
to visit the UK but it is the level of our tax (VAT) which is often
cited as the reason why they have not done so in recent years."
"In this post Brexit world we need to be competitive and secure
this valuable trade for the UK. I have no doubt that a reduction
in VAT to 5% on serviced accommodation would significantly increase
the volume of overseas visitors coming to England whilst also encouraging
many English holidaymakers to stay and holiday in England. A win
win situation for everyone."