Thousands of new jobs could be created in the UK regions if the government created a level playing field with the rest of Europe by cutting VAT on tourism, according to the Cut Tourism VAT campaign.
A new survey from Cut Tourism VAT, which is calling for tourism VAT to be cut from 20% to 5%, indicates that British holidaymakers are unaware that Britain is one of only four countries in the EU to charge the tax on tourism at the full rate.
As a result, the campaign is calling on regional communities across the UK to back its demand for a cut in tourism VAT.
More than two-thirds of respondents thought it unfair that UK families pay more than double the VAT as Germany and France for a domestic holiday.
The campaign has highlighted how UK holidays struggle to compete with comparable holidays in France, which enjoys a 7% VAT rate on visitor accommodation.
The UK is also one of only 14 EU countries that apply the full rate of VAT on admissions to amusement parks and one of only nine countries that applies the full rate on admissions to cultural attractions. Thirteen countries have a reduced VAT rate for restaurant meals.
Graham Wason, chairman of the Cut Tourism VAT campaign said: "Victory for this regional campaign would mean British families being able to enjoy more holidays and breaks in their own country. It would also mean greater tourism spend, investment and jobs in communities where tourism is a key part of the local economy."
Blackpool is one of the key target destination for the Cut Tourism VAT regional campaign.
David Cam, company secretary and director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, said: "Tourism is one of the most important industries in the country, a fact acknowledged by successive prime ministers.
"However, the Treasury appear blind to the extraordinary opportunities which a reduced level of VAT on tourism products bring to the British economy.
Not only would the Staycation concept develop rapidly but there are millions of foreign tourists who perceive the UK is extremely expensive and would be encouraged to visit here should VAT see a reduction."
Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys said "I have been a big supporter of this campaign and have made my points very clear to successive ministers. I believe by cutting VAT we will increase levels of incoming tourism, making the United Kingdom much more attractive to visit. Incoming tourism is new money into the economy of this county and should be encouraged where possible."
Ufi Ibrahim, chiefexecutive of the British Hospitality Association said: "Britain is such a great country with so much to do that we should be making it easy for people to holiday at home. The current VAT levels are making it hard for us to compete with cheap resorts abroad. As a result Britain's hospitality industry is suffering.
"We have so much to offer and it's madness not to allow our hotels, resorts and attractions to compete on a level playing field with our European neighbours.
"It might not be the sexiest subject in the world but VAT is an important one. Cutting tourism VAT in the UK to 5% can benefit everyone, from the average Brit holidaying at home or keeping their children entertained in the school holidays; to local hotels, B&Bs and restaurants trying to survive; to local jobseekers looking for work."
The Cut Tourism VAT campaign reveals that 86% of Brits consider the cost when choosing to go on holiday, with a quarter saying it's the most important factor in deciding when and where to go. Eight in ten of the people polled admitted they would be more likely to holiday in the UK if hotels, attractions and holidays parks in this country were cheaper.
Of those polled, 65% don't think it's fair that UK families pay more than twice as much VAT as Germany and France. Meanwhile 54% of people across the UK believe a reduction in tourism VAT would help the UK economy.
The Cut Tourism VAT campaign is led by the British Hospitality Association, British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions, Bourne Leisure Group and Merlin Entertainments Group, and is surrported by over 500 UK associations and businesses.
A full list of members and supporters can be found at the website www.cuttourismvat.co.uk.