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Cutting VAT is a win- win situation for UK

ufi ibrahim is chief executive officer of British Hospitality Association

New spa hotel for Southampton

Planning permission has been approved for a landmark £50m waterfront scheme at Ocean Village in Southampton. Te MDL Marinas ‘super-


he high level of VAT for visitor accommodation and attractions is again rising to the top of the agenda. A survey of more than

200 British Hospitality Association (BHA) members shows an overwhelming majority support the campaign to reduce VAT to 5 per cent on hotel accommodation, attractions and for meals away from home. The launch of new VAT pages on the

BHA website – – gives the whole industry a continuous update on the campaign, as well as providing a comprehen- sive series of questions and answers which explain the background to the campaign and its aims and objectives. A new campaign is also being launched on Facebook. Te research highlights the benefits that

would be brought about by a reduction in VAT for the industry. Experience in other countries shows that major changes in VAT pass through to customers in their entirety. It’s clear the industry plans to plough savings back into their business with lower prices, more training and higher wages. Reducing the VAT rate will improve the

UK’s competitiveness. Tis country is only one of four out of the 27 EU member states which does not impose a lower rate of VAT on hospitality services. Tis makes the UK uncompetitive with the rest of Europe. We are effectively fighting our European compe- tition with one hand tied behind our back. Te findings emphasise our belief that

a reduction in VAT will boost customer demand, leading to the creation of more and more jobs. BHA’s research indicates that 78,000 jobs will be created following a reduction of VAT to five per cent. And, of course, this will lead to greater revenues to the Treasury through higher tax returns. Tis is surely a win-win situation – more

visitors, a growing industry, more jobs and greater tax revenues to the Treasury. We will continue to press home these arguments to government but we also need members of the industry to persuade their local MP and councillors to understand the merits of the case. Te argument is powerful. Let’s get the message across so the whole industry – and the UK economy – can benefit.


yacht’-inspired scheme was given the backing of planning officials at Southampton City Council and includes a luxury spa hotel; a Michelin-starred restaurant; and a rooftop champagne bar. MDL Marinas has teamed

up with Harbour Hotels on the plans. Te ground floor of the hotel will include a large open plan lounge, restaurant and bar which will extend out onto a terrace at the end of the existing promontory. Details of the spa are yet to be confirmed. Harbour Hotels is owned by Surrey-based

MDL is planning to build a “luxury waterfront hotel and spa” in the city Nicolas James Group chair Nicolas Roach,

property investors Nicolas James Group and the company currently operates five hotels along the south coast of England.

said: “We intend to bring a luxury waterfront hotel and spa to the city, along with our award winning jetty restaurant concept.” Te opening of the new spa hotel will form

the first phase of the waterfront project. Details:

PKF: UK hotels ‘bounce back’ during March

UK hotel operators “bounced back” from a challenging winter period in March, according to the latest preliminary sector figures pub- lished by PKF Hotel Consultancy Services. London rooms yield was up 5.5 per cent and room rate grew 7.6 per cent to £131.93,

compared with March 2011. However, occu- pancy fell by 1.9 per cent to 79.7 per cent. In the regional market, room rate declined

by 1.5 per cent but occupancy (3.1 per cent) and rooms yield (1.5 per cent) both increased. Details:

De Vere Village to roll out room concept

De Vere Village Hotels has announced the launch of its UpperDeck room concept. UpperDeck will provide a

“superior room type”, with hotels in Swansea, Solihull and Chester St Davids among the first to offer the concept. It is expected 20 rooms per

property will be rolled out by September 2012, which represents a total of 1,000 bedrooms in a bid to improve customer experience and increase profitability. UpperDeck rooms aim to

offer a sleep experience that rivals five-star operators and a full Sky TV entertainment package. De Vere Village Hotels CEO Robert B Cook

said: “With all the benefits that already come with staying at a Village hotel, we could see a

Read Leisure Opportunities online: Each property will offer 20 UpperDeck rooms as part of the UK roll out

great opportunity to offer, to both corporate and leisure guests alike, a must-have upgrade that has real benefits.” Details:

Twitter: @leisureopps © CYBERTREK 2012

image: deklofenak/

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