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April 16, 2008

Bed tax put to sleep

The Government has decided to rule out the possibility of introducing a ‘bed’ or tourist tax, which if implemented could have a detrimental effect on companies’ live marketing strategies.

Last summer, the Events Industry Alliance (EIA) raised concerns over the possible introduction of the Tax, which would increase in the overall cost of exhibiting at or attending an event. According to the EIA, “the tax would be a negative influence and could hinder the development of this expanding sector”. The events body welcomed the Government’s decision to rule out the possibility of implementing such a tax, following the Sir Michael Lyons inquiry last month.

Phil Woolas, local government minister, said: “Sir Michael examines the case for a tourist tax. He concludes that there is not a strong evidence base for the introduction of such a tax. While he puts the case for a consultation on this issue, we are not, therefore, inclined to focus on this area. The Government does not intend to introduce a tourism tax.”

The EIA lobbied with Visit Britain and others against the introduction of a local room tax that would have pushed the tax on accommodation in the UK to almost three times the European average. The UK already has the second highest level of taxation of any tourism destination in the world, according to figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council, so the Government’s decision has been greatly welcomed throughout the tourism and events industries.

Trevor Foley, EIA group chief executive, was delighted with the news, saying: “It’s great to see government thinking and now acting in a more joined-up manner and especially gratifying for this announcement to follow the recent EIA reception at Parliament lobbying for just this type of integrated planning. Let’s have more of the same. Our members want to see greater involvement by government at national and local levels to actively promote what is a world-leading sector.“

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