Did you know that every time you book a hotel, pay to get into a tourist attraction, or go on a flight, there is 20% added to the price in VAT?
You may well be thinking - so - nearly everything has VAT added. I don't think about it.
That may be the case. However, it's only when you start looking at what the rest of Europe is doing that you realise how much you are over paying for these services.
If you book a hotel abroad, chances are, the price is cheaper, mainly because they have less VAT to pay. For instance - travel just over to Ireland and their VAT on tourism is only 9%! Their regular VAT is currently 21%. This means they can afford to be more competitive on their pricing, enticing tourists to visit there instead.
Tourism is a massive business in the UK - and a huge employer too. With a lower VAT rate, Germany for example had great results within twelve months of lowering theirs to just 7%. It enabled hoteliers to lower prices which stimulated more growth of the economy, and more inward tourism spend from other countries. It also created the ability to invest more in their properties and employees. Jobs were created, more tax was paid to the Government and in turn everyone wins.
Visit France and it's even lower at 5.5%! In fact, out of 22 countries, only one has a higher rate than the UK, which is Denmark at 25%. Go anywhere else in Europe and you'll get better value for money.
So what can we do? Well I for one support a lowering of the VAT rate in the tourism industry and welcome anything that boosts tourism in the UK both for UK citizens having a "staycation" and for foreign tourists visiting the UK.
In order to make your voice heard, you can contact your local MP and ensure they are supporting the Cut Tourism VAT campaign. Apparently 125 MPs now support it and the number grows daily. I hope to be able to bring you news of a change of Government policy in the future - watch this space!