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Press releases

32,000 TOURISM JOBS IN ENGLAND UNDER THREAT BY NEW BED TAX

24th May 2006


-Bumper summer tourist season in England could be a thing of the past, warns
UK tourism leaders-

- The 30 billion generated by tourism in England could be placed at risk with a 10% Bed Tax.
- Hospitality industry leaders fear reduced annual revenues by up to 1.3 billion.
- Up to 32,000 jobs will be lost as a result.
- A total of 79% of people would cut back spending on local hotels, bars, restaurants and shops.

The 155 million annual visitors to English tourist areas could be priced out of a return visit placing at risk the 30 Billion tourism generates for the economy in England. The warning was sounded today by Grant Hearn, CEO of Travelodge and a range of UK tourism leaders as the industry forecast the severe impact of bed tax on its future prospects.

The Lyons Inquiry is currently considering a proposal that would mean local authorities could tax local and overseas visitors on the 7.8 billion a year they spend on holiday accommodation in England.

Industry leaders fear that a 10% tax on hotel, caravan and B&B costs will reduce annual revenues by up to 1.3 billion and warn that 32, 000 jobs will be lost as a result. A Nottingham University formula that links cost increases to revenue decreases predicts a bed tax would wipe out 216 million trade from this summer period alone.

Research also reveals that 67% of the public would re-consider the length of their holiday depriving local tourism economies of an average daily visitor spend of 57.

Grant Hearn, CEO of Travelodge said: "Tourism is a thriving industry with no better demonstration than the millions of holiday makers planning the UK trips for the summer. In order to keep it this way, the industry needs to wake up to the threat of a bed tax and take action.

"Local authorities across the UK have requested that Lyons should look at introducing a Bed Tax but clearly they do not understand the major risk of lower tourism revenue and possible job losses in their own home towns.

"Our research shows that 79% of people would cut back on spending on local hotels, bars, restaurants and shops. We urge all businesses in the industry, local tourism officers and consumers to take a stand by writing to their MP's for support."

Bob Cotton, CEO of the British Hotel Association, said: "England has some of the finest hotels and tourist attractions in the world, which is why so many visitors choose to come. A bed tax will change all of this unless the idea is kicked into touch. Back the "Say NO to Bed Tax" campaign."

James Garner, managing editor at Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine also warned: "The hotel industry is a big sector and anything that affects it will affect the whole economy. Any business in the UK that depends upon visitors staying in local hotels can expect a bed tax to have an impact on their bottom line if the proposals are granted."

The campaign is being led by Travelodge, VisitBritain, British Hotel Association, Tourism Alliance, VisitLondon and Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine.

--ends--

For further information, please contact:
Greg Dawson, Travelodge, Tel: 01844 358644/ 07921945778
Mark Hutcheon, ReputationInc, Tel: 020 7758 2800/ 07739 181 352
Bob Cotton, BHA, Tel: 0771 836 8049


Notes to Editor
- The total UK tourism industry combining England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland generates approx 76bn for the UK economy. This is broken down by 14bn from inbound visitors, 27bn domestic tourism, 32bn day visits and 3bn in foreign earnings from UK carriers.
- The Government has set a target of growing UK tourism into a 100 billion industry by 2010.
- The Lyons Inquiry is an independent Government investigation into the future funding and function of local government. Sir Michael Lyons stated in his interim report in December 2005 that he was interested in exploring this issue of tourist related taxes further.
- Register your support and find out how to write to your local MP by visiting Caterer and Hotelkeeper online at www.caterersearch.com

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