A total of 33 MPs from across the UK will come together to take part in a hospitality and tourism event in Parliament on September 16, to discuss the importance of the sector to the British economy.
The event – which will bring together politicians, policy-makers and businesses – will see hospitality industry leaders ask government for policy reforms to help make it more competitive with rival tourist destinations, particularly in Europe.
According to an independent Oxford Economics study commissioned by the British Hospitality Association, Hospitality is Britain’s fourth largest industry, supporting 14 per cent of total employment and delivering £143bn a year to Britain’s economy.
It has also created one in five of all new jobs since 2010.
However VAT is still levied at 20% – almost twice the European average.
No fewer than 25 out of 27 EU countries have reduced rates for hospitality. Industry leaders are campaigning for a lower rate of 5% on hospitality in the UK.
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) – which is organising the Westminster Hospitality and Tourism Day – also called on the Government to speed up and simplify the VISA application process to encourage more visitors from growth markets such as China.
The group also wants to ban ‘Rate Parity’ clauses – which mean online travel agents receive the same rate as guests who book rooms with the hotel itself, arguing that rate parity limits savings that hotels can pass on to guests who decide to book directly.
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association will tell MPs that: “Hospitality is a wealth generator across the country, not just London and the South East, and we can contribute a lot more to this country in new well-paid jobs, exports and increased tax revenue.
“But we need government support to fully unleash our industry’s potential; on tourism VAT, on visas, deregulation, aviation capacity and on creating a fair digital marketplace by banning so-called ‘Rate-Parity’ agreements.”
The day will include a Parliamentary reception hosted by Brighton Pavilion MP, Caroline Lucas and Nick Varney, chairman of the BHA and CEO of Merlin Entertainments PLC and a series of meetings between MPs and hospitality business owners and managers.