We are starting our Christmas break today and although we are not officially back until January we will be updating our website. However, I very much hope most of you will be too busy with Christmas parties to read it!
I would also like to take this opportunity to advise of the changes we have made to our distribution database. We have employed the services of two specialist database management companies who will manage and monitor our database, reaching new businesses and readers. However, there may be some businesses which may be inadvertently left off, so if you have been receiving a regular copy and in January 2017, don’t, then please do not hesitate to contact us to be added back to our list at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The biggest UK story of the year? Undoubtedly Brexit, and our online poll, we are delighted to say, called the referendum result correctly, when all the leading, (and hugely expensive), polls got it wrong. So, a big thank you and well done to our online readers.
Despite all the predictions the sky did not cave in and business and life generally carried on as normal. However, it appears that hospitality has been one of the winners from the referendum result – the fall in the pound has made Britain an attractive destination for overseas visitors, and a report that I read revealed that a hotel in York had seen an increase in American visitors of over 200% following the referendum result.
The falling pound has also meant our old friend Staycation has become even more appealing. UK nationals spent £19.76bn travelling in the EU in 2014, which accounted for 56% of all travel spend. If Brits were to spend more of that money at home in 2017 it would provide a massive boost to UK tourism.
And of course I couldn’t finish without banging the drum about our levels of VAT! Now that we have voted to leave Europe, the disparity between levels of VAT on mainland Europe and our level of VAT is more apparent than ever.
Countries will be competing fiercely when it comes to attracting tourism, we have been a long standing supporter of organisations lobbying to cut VAT, and a long-standing critic of both the Labour government, the coalition, and the present Conservative government when it comes to our ludicrously high level of VAT in hospitality. We will continue to support and lobby in 2017 and we very much hope that you will join us. It is not a futile cause, and I genuinely believe that with enough pressure we can get the level of VAT reduced, most certainly on accommodation and possibly on eating out and tourist attractions.
At the time of writing this the whole of Europe is on a heightened state of alert following the terrible events in Berlin, whilst this is a wonderfully busy period for the hospitality industry and a hugely enjoyable period for everybody as a whole, it is also an opportunity as we have seen in Berlin for evil people to do evil things. I was in Paris at the time of the shootings in November last year, and upon my return I contacted Chris Phillips, Former Head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, who very kindly provided an article on how to protect your business from the threat of terrorism, and is available here.
Editor of CLH News