Commenting on the Chancellors Summer Statement today, Joanne Stuart CEO NI Tourism Alliance said, “We welcome the package of measures announced by the Chancellor in his Summer statement to support the Tourism industry, which is one of the key economic drivers in Northern Ireland and across the UK.
This comes as a huge relief to tourism businesses who were hit first and hardest by the economic impact of Covid-19 and four months on are now starting on the road to recovery.
The temporary reduction on VAT to 5% is something that the industry has long campaigned for and will address the competitive disadvantage we have faced sharing a land border with the Republic of Ireland who have a VAT rate of 13.5%.
The ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ initiative will help to stimulate demand in August for our businesses serving food, giving people a 50% discount (up to £10) on their meal. A great opportunity for the public to get out and enjoy our delicious local produce and our amazing chefs.
It is critical to the survival of tourism businesses over the winter period that the industry is able to maximise the rest of the 2020 season and these measures alongside campaigns that reassure and encourage our local residents to support the local tourism industry by having a staycation and attract visitors from the RoI and GB to holiday in Northern Ireland will give tourism businesses a fighting chance.
To build on the packages announced today, we are urging the NI Executive to provide clarity on border controls in Northern Ireland and follow the approaches by England and Scotland. This is critical to rebuilding NI as a destination for European and International travellers and is essential if we are to rebuild the tourism industry and protect jobs.
Our industry, with government guidance, has invested heavily to ensure a safe but welcoming experience and destination. Working tirelessly across all sectors from hospitality, hotels, attractions, activities, coach, ferries, airlines, airports. Our message is come to Northern Ireland, we offer great value for money, a safe environment and an authentic experience.