UKinbound has submitted its key asks to the Government ahead of the Spring Budget on 15 March 2023. The key measures outlined include:
- Reintroducing VAT free shopping for international visitors which would generate £4.4 billion over two years for the UK economy, with a net benefit to the Treasury of £1.3 billion (Source: Oxford Economics).
- Reforming business rates and extending support for retail businesses beyond April 2023. The recovery of the UK’s inbound visitor economy is dependent on a fully functioning domestic leisure, retail, and hospitality industry. The current inflation and energy costs pose a threat to all these sectors and the Government must act to safeguard business interests across the country.
- Creating a new Youth Group Travel Scheme for under 18s. This would provide a solution to the damaging impact that has been caused by the removal of EU, EEA and Swiss citizen ID cards in 2021 as a form of travel document allowing entry into the UK. This new scheme has the potential to generate £130 million for the UK exchequer annually (Source: Tourism Alliance).
- Expanding and reforming the Youth Mobility Scheme (for 18 – 30 year olds) which is currently under-utilised as a cultural exchange programme due to the small number of countries with which the UK has a YMS agreement. Bilateral agreements need to be negotiated with individual EU countries in order to re-establish the ability of young people to work, live and move more easily between the UK and EU.
- Introducing a new five-year visitor visa which would ensure our visa and entry systems are globally competitive. An additional £2 billion could be generated in revenue for the government (Source: Tourism Alliance) by reducing the cost of a five-year multiple entry visa to £145 and encouraging international visitors to upgrade from a £95 standard visa, thus stimulating demand for return visits.
- Increasing VisitBritain’s budget so it can increase its efforts to successfully market the UK to key markets around the world.
- Freezing Air Passenger Duty (APD) for the remainder of the parliamentary term – The UK has a comparatively high rate of APD and freezing it for the remainder of the parliamentary term would provide the UK with a competitive advantage.
Joss Croft OBE, CEO commented, “The Government has set a target for itself to increase the levels of inbound visitors and spend to the UK by the end of this year to the levels seen in 2019. However, in the current climate, this is exceptionally challenging and has been exacerbated by the reintroduction of testing restrictions placed on arrivals from mainland China – a key market for inbound tourism.
“The upcoming Budget presents a fantastic opportunity to implement policies that will not only enable government and the industry to reach these targets but surpass them. The next six months are critical to our industry’s recovery and its ability to bring significant new export revenue into the country, and taxation to the Treasury, which will directly aid the UK’s balance sheet, and crucially support the Government’s Global Britain ambitions.”
Click here to learn more about UKinbound’s advocacy.