The All Party Parliamentary Group for the Visitor Economy has called for a cut in tourism VAT as a primary step towards boosting the staycation trend and lengthening the summer season.
An influential group of MPs has included a cut in tourism VAT in a list of 37 recommendations for the government to help Britain’s coastal communities.
In its report, the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Visitor Economy also called on governmental bodies and tourism promotion authorities to challenge perceptions of the coast as old fashioned, closed in winter and difficult to get to.
Headed by Conservative MP Steve Double, the MPs were responding to a study it had conducted into seaside destinations, which counted input from Butlin’s and Merlin Entertainments amongst its 59 submissions.
Double, who represents St Austell and Newquay, said: “The British coastline is a national asset with great potential and with the right investment, can drive regeneration, economic growth and job creation.
“As an MP that represents a coastal community in Cornwall I urge the government to give serious consideration to the recommendations in this report.
“Together we can turn the tide and bring a smile back to all parts of the British coast.”
The reduction of tourism VAT to five percent was identified as an essential step forward by many of the 59 respondents, who said the move would encourage more Brits to ‘staycation’ in the country and help lengthen the holiday season.
At present, the UK’s tourism VAT of 20 per cent is double the average rate in the European Union, while just over a third of all trips to the coast take place in the months of July and August.
Paul Kelly, chief executive of BALPPA, commented: “BALPPA is delighted to see that the APPG for the Visitor Economy has recognised the long held view that a reduction in tourism VAT would help boost the visitor economy.
“Tourism is a successful and very well run part of the UK economy and it makes perfect sense at this time to invest in it.
“The benefits will not only be seen in seaside towns but across all the tourism-related businesses and attractions in the UK. We look forward to this becoming government policy.”
The MPs did highlight successful coastal strategies, such as the public/private partnership between Blackpool Council and Merlin Entertainments to revive the Blackpool Tower area as part of eight attractions, including the ballroom that was used in last weekend’s edition of BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing.
Merlin’s head of Blackpool Cluster, Kate Shane, said: “This timely report shows how coastal resorts like Blackpool can be reinvigorated and maintained for the next generation by collaboration with local business.
“Merlin is proud of our partnership with Blackpool Council which has led to the refurbishment of the Blackpool tower and the introduction of Madame Tussauds.”