HU Welcomes Gov Review of Hospitality And Tourism Vat Rate and Air Passenger Duty

HU Welcomes Gov Review of Hospitality And Tourism Vat Rate and Air Passenger Duty

22 November 2017

Hospitality Ulster Chief Executive, Colin Neill, today welcomes the government’s announcement of the commencement of a review into hospitality and tourism VAT rate and Air Passenger Duty (APD).

Speaking on the review into Tourism VAT, Colin Neill said:

"Hospitality Ulster has led the campaign for a reduction in the hospitality and tourism Vat rate in Northern Ireland, which at 20% puts us at a distinct competitive disadvantage, particularly as our nearest market the Republic of Ireland, has a 9% tourism vat rate.

"We also welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to complete these reviews by the next budget. It is important that such important decisions for the NI economy and for the hospitality and tourism sectors are made in a reasonable timeframe.

"The 20% VAT rate acts as a brake on the growth of the hospitality and tourism sector, which supports more than 60,000 jobs across Northern Ireland.

"Independent research earlier this year showed that more than 2,000 jobs would be created in our hospitality sector if the VAT rate on accommodation and visitor attractions was cut to 5%. With additional research showing a further 4,000 jobs could be created if VAT was cut on food.

"We therefore welcome today’s announcement that a review into tourism VAT will take place and would urge the review to act speedily and decisively to remove the competitive disadvantage that Northern Ireland suffers when it comes to tourism.

"It is imperative that the rate is cut in Northern Ireland so we can continue to grow a vital part of the regional economy.’’

Speaking on the review into Air Passenger Duty, Colin Neill said:

"Hospitality Ulster has been calling for the abolition of Air Passenger Duty for a number of years and we welcome today’s announcement that a review into APD will now begin.

"It is clear that APD is a competitive disadvantage to Northern Ireland’s tourism offering and therefore our wider economy.

"The Republic of Ireland, our nearest competitor, abolished their airport tax a number of years ago and Hospitality Ulster would urge this review to do likewise.

"The hospitality sector is working for Northern Ireland and has continued to grow strongly over the past number of years. The abolition of APD would allow the region to better compete for more flights and routes into Northern Ireland, thereby helping grow tourism numbers.

"Maintaining APD makes no sense and is most certainly not in the interests of the wider Northern Ireland economy or the hospitality and tourism sector.

"Hospitality Ulster has worked closely with both the Northern Ireland Assembly and our MPs in Westminster to bring about a reduced Tourism VAT rate and abolish Air Passenger Duty. With today’s announcement by the Chancellor both our goals are a step closer.

Commenting on the announcement, Nigel Dodds, DUP MP and Deputy Leader of the party, said:

"Today’s announcement represents the next step forward in the APD and Tourism VAT campaign and we welcome the progress that has been made. 

"The Chancellor’s statement represents delivery by the government of another aspect of the DUP-Conservative agreement and we look forward to seeing the outcome of this process.

"We will continue to work with Hospitality Ulster and the tourism industry to make sure that the Northern Ireland economy benefits from the most competitive tax rates possible.”