Parliamentary event to highlight importance of hospitality to the economy

By Emma Eversham contact

- Last updated on GMT

The BHA and hospitality leaders will join MPs at Westminster later today to lobby the government for fairer policies for the industry
The BHA and hospitality leaders will join MPs at Westminster later today to lobby the government for fairer policies for the industry

Related tags: British hospitality association, United kingdom

A reception is being held at Parliament today (Wednesday) to highlight the importance of the hospitality and tourism industries to the British economy. 

The event, which will bring together politicians, 33 of which are MPs, policy-makers and businesses – is being organised to celebrate the contribution Britain's fourth largest industry makes to the economy. 

Industry leaders will also put pressure on the government to make policy reforms to make the UK more competitive with rival tourist destinations. 

In the majority of European countries hospitality and tourism enjoys a lower rate of VAT and the British Hospitality Association (BHA), is campaigning to see the rate dropped to 5 per cent to make the UK more competitive.  No fewer than 25 out of 27 EU countries have reduced rates for hospitality. 

The organisation, which has arranged the event, is also calling for a simplification of the VISA process for tourists, particularly from growth markets like China and a ban to rate parity clauses which would make online travel agents offer the same rate as hotels themselves. The BHA argues that rate parity would limit the savings hotels can pass onto guests can book directly. 

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association said: “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 event 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.

A report from an Oxford Economics study, commissioned by the British Hospitality Association will also be officially launched. 

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