This year will be one of the most significant for the UK hospitality and tourism sector. The Olympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations will focus international attention on Britain. So 2012 presents a one-off opportunity to make the case to government for measures which will boost hospitality growth, create jobs and generate wealth at a time when the country is in economic difficulties.
We believe the best way to boost growth is to reduce the rate of VAT to five per cent for hotel accommodation, entry to attractions and on out-of-home meals to make this country competitive with the most of Europe.
Only Denmark and Lithuania charge a higher rate than the UK, with competitors such as Italy charging 10 per cent, Spain 8 per cent and France and Germany charging just a 7 per cent tax rate on hotel accommodation.
We have brought together a strong coalition of partners led by the BHA including the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers & Attractions, the Federation of Small Business and the Tourism Alliance. Backing this coalition, an independent report by Deloitte, commissioned by Bourne Leisure and Merlin Entertainments, already provides ample evidence to show that a reduction in VAT for hotel accommodation and attractions would produce a net benefit to the Treasury of £2.6bn over ten years, generate some 78,000 jobs, and drive further investment in the UK.