‘Slashing tourism tax will boost town’

P8485-10-10AW Holiday Guide 2010 pics, Exmouth promenade. Pic by Alex Walton

P8485-10-10AW Holiday Guide 2010 pics, Exmouth promenade. Pic by Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

The chairman of Exmouth Chamber of Commerce is backing a national campaign to slash VAT by 75 per cent in the town’s tourist sector.

Ian MacQueen supports The Cut Tourism VAT Campaign, which urges Whitehall chiefs to reduce the ‘tax on luxuries’ from 20 per cent.

He said it would make East Devon’s tourist economy more competitive.

Currently, 25 of the 28 countries of the European Union have reduced VAT in their tourist sectors.

Ian argues that if VAT was cut to five per cent in places like Exmouth, visitors might choose to holiday here instead of abroad.

A massive slice of Exmouth’s and East Devon’s economy is based on tourism - with £1 in every £10 in the town directly generated by the industry.

Mr MacQueen said: “The Cut Tourism VAT Campaign is run by a coalition of hotels, self-catering, caravan sites, bed and breakfasts and visitor attractions, calling on the Government to boost the economy in the next budget.

Most Read

“The importance of a successful tourism industry to Exmouth and East Devon is vital.

“Reducing VAT on tourism would not only make the UK more competitive with other destinations within Europe, but would also increase the affordability and attractiveness of regional tourism hotspots, such as East Devon, and generate more investment for local businesses.”

He said that international competition for tourism was increasing, while the UK’s share of the global tourism market was declining.

There was an increase in Jobseeker’s Allowance claims in June and July.

The trend is unusual as seasonal work in a seaside town like Exmouth usually goes up in mid-summer, not down.

Mr MacQueen said that recent research estimated that a cut would create 120,000 UK jobs, adding: “Clearly, Devon would take an interesting chunk of this increased revenue and job bonanza, with Exmouth benefiting substantially.”