Dermot King, managing director of Butlin's, is to take up the role of chairman of the Cut Tourism VAT campaign, on behalf of the British Hospitality Association (BHA), with immediate effect.
He replaces Graham Wason who headed the campaign for just over four years. Wason is a former partner in Deloitte Consulting and chairman of the Tourism Society. He is also owner of the self-catering property Cossington Park near Bridgwater, Somerset.
In his new role, King will join the BHA board of directors, working with BHA chairman Nick Varney, chief executive Ufi Ibrahim and the Cut Tourism VAT team. The campaign is focused on getting a reduction in VAT to make it more competitive against its European neighbours.
The Cut Tourism VAT campaign has the support of over 1,000 hospitality and tourism operators and more than 100 MPs from all political parties.
King trained as an accountant in Dublin where he was born. He was part of the team that audited Bourne Leisure, before moving into operations in 1993 when he became operations director of Caravan Parks and was part of the team that led the merger with Rank's Holiday Division in 2000. He is the company secretary and a board director of Bourne Leisure with responsibility for tax and IT. He took over responsibility for Butlin's in 2010.
Ibrahim said the BHA was delighted to welcome King as the new chairman of the Cut Tourism VAT campaign. "The campaign is one of the BHA's top priorities and is attracting a groundswell of grass roots support from hospitality and tourism businesses of all shapes and sizes right across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Dermot's leadership will cement our past success and will help to rally even greater support to champion the reduction of Tourism VAT in the UK," she said.
"We'd also like to sincerely thank outgoing chairman Graham Wason for his commitment to demonstrating the clear economic and political case for this measure to boost the economy."
King added: "The evidence behind the benefits of a reduction of tourism VAT to businesses, the national economy and British families has never been clearer. The first year of the new parliament presents an exciting opportunity, but our real goal is to win the hearts and minds of the British public who don't realise that they are being taxed harder than almost anyone else in Europe for simply going on holiday in their own country.
"Graham Wason, who previously chaired the campaign, will continue to lead our vital research capabilities, which shape the campaign's economic modelling, and he remains a key figure in our discussions with HM Treasury."
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