UKinbound cautiously welcomes 2018 Budget
UKinbound has cautiously welcomed some of the new policies and initiatives outlined in the chancellor’s 2018 Budget but urges the Government to re-consider its decision not to change VAT or APD regimes, particularly in Northern Ireland.
New policies that will have a positive effect on the UK’s tourism industry include:
- The opening of e-passport gates to citizens from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan which will help to reduce queues and waiting times for these visitors;
- Funding to help restore historic high streets and for Coventry to help it prepare for hosting the UK City of Culture in 2021;
- The roll out of full fibre broadband for rural areas, which will help tourism businesses to connect and market their businesses more effectively to visitors;
- Funding to repair and improve roads and extension of the Transforming Cities Fund, which will help to improve connectivity and transport links in cities. This will help to encourage tourists to visit and further explore the UK’s cities, likely resulting in increased economic benefit across the whole of the UK from enhanced visitor spend.
Chairman Mark McVay said: “We are pleased that the Budget includes several policies that will have a positive impact on the UK’s tourism industry. These include the welcome introduction of e-gates for more of our international visitors, improvement of transport links in our cities and digital connectivity in rural areas and funding to help restore and sustain our historic high streets.
“However, it is disappointing that there will be no change to APD and VAT regimes at this point, even though there is strong evidence that cutting these taxes will in fact generate more revenue for the Government in the long term.”
Louise Goalen, HBAA chair added: "While we welcome many of the Chancellor's initiatives and the benefits they will bring to the UK hospitality and events industry, there is not enough to address the major talent gap we are facing.
"The changes in the apprenticeship levy are good news and we hope that venues and agencies whose levy has been reduced to 5% will take advantage of this, and take on more trainees under this scheme.”
"UK business events will ultimately benefit from the £30 billion spend on roads and the freeze on fuel duty. However, when it comes to overseas events, a rise in long haul APD is definitely unwelcome, as this will impact the incentive market. On a more positive note, it's good to see a reduction in business rates for smaller companies as this will help reduce the overheads of some HBAA agency members."
"Let’s hope there is good news in the Chancellor's 'red books' - the important small print that goes with these headline statements."