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Flood-hit York hotels urge PM to holiday in Northern England

By Emma Eversham+ , 02-Feb-2016

Flood-hit York hotels urge PM to holiday in Northern England

The chief executive of managed hotel chain Best Western Great Britain is calling on David Cameron and George Osborne to holiday in the North of England this year to help boost trade at hospitality businesses affected by the recent floods. 

Occupancy at Best Western York hotels was down by an average of 12.6 per cent in January and revenue was down 11.5 per cent. The floods, which struck large parts of the city during the Christmas and New Year period, were blamed for the drop.

Best Western GB chief executive Rob Payne said the fall in trade, combined with the cancellation of forward bookings meant that Best Western York hotels had lost more than £1m in business with restaurants, cafes and pubs in the city also suffering the knock-on effects. 

While last week the Government announced it was setting aside £15m to help promote tourism in the North of England in the wake of the floods across Cumbria and Yorkshire, Payne said the move was not enough. 

“The hospitality industry needs more support from the Government. Mr Cameron frequently takes advantage of lower Tourism VAT rates in Portugal and Spain every time he holidays there, but he won’t cut Tourism VAT in Britain to allow us to compete with those destinations," he said. 

“£1million loss in a month is a lot to recover, so I’d like to invite Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne to lead by example and to commit to holidaying in the north of England this year too, helping those people, places and businesses that badly need support. Best Western hotels would be happy to host them, we have over 60 in the north of England and an award-winning call centre in York waiting to take their call.” 

Best Western GB, which includes 270 independently-owned hotels, joins members of the British Hospitality Association (BHA) in voicing anger over the lack of support for businesses affected by the floods in December and January. 

BHA deputy CEO Martin Couchman said although the funding was welcomed, a longer term campaign to support the affected counties would have been preferable. 

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