Travelodge has used the start of English Tourism Week to call on MPs with large tourism sectors in their constituencies to stand up for the industry in the House of Commons and enact the legislative reforms needed to help the sector grow.
Travelodge chief executive Guy Parsons has written to 50 MPs whose constituencies have the largest share of tourism businesses, calling on them to help an industry which he says could bring in an extra £73b to the economy and create 264,000 jobs by 2020.
Parsons has asked the MPs to use their position in the House of Commons to ask for:
● A reduction in the rate of VAT to 5%. Across Europe governments have slashed VAT for tourism businesses, ensuring that they remain competitive in these difficult times. Reducing VAT for tourism businesses in the UK would help create 79,000 jobs - a large proportion of which would go to younger workers at a time when one in five 16- to 24-year-olds is out to work.
● An amendment in the Schengen Visa arrangements to make the UK an attractive destination for Chinese tourists. Currently more Chinese people visit France and Germany than the UK because we require them to obtain another visa before coming here. Relaxing the requirements could see Chinese tourists spend an £800m here and create 16,000 jobs.
Parsons said: "Despite being the fifth-largest industry in Britain tourism is virtually neglected in the House of Commons. We are one of the few sectors of the economy that can quickly create meaningful jobs and help to pull the country out of its present difficulty.
"To truly be able to do this, however, we need MPs who will stand up and champion tourism's cause. Reducing VAT to 5% for tourism businesses and relaxing the Schengen Visa arrangements for Chinese tourists would send a message out that the Government is now firmly on our side."
By Neil Gerrard
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