Budget hotel operator Travelodge has slammed hotel industry chiefs for their "disgraceful display of apathy and complacency" in failing to formally oppose the Government's proposed bed tax.
The tax on accommodation of between 5% and 10% was one of the ideas raised in December's interim report to bolster local authority funding. Sir Michael Lyons will produce a second report later this year.
A bed tax would worsen the £17.5b tourism trade deficit, stifle growth and cost hospitality jobs, according to Hearn. He pointed out that a 10% bed tax would add £100 to an average week's holiday for a family of four. Hearn feared this would wipe £650m off domestic tourism revenues and £440m off international spend.
The Tourism Alliance said UK accommodation tax would rise to nearly three times the European average.
Hearn criticised the lack of leadership from industry giants Hilton, InterContinental and Whitbread. InterContinental declined to comment, while a Hilton spokeswoman said the company strongly supported the BHA's efforts.
BHA deputy chief executive Martin Couchman said the organisation encouraged its members to lobby independently.
Hearn urged hoteliers to write to MPs, other political parties, the All Party Group on Tourism, the Consumers' Association, and Lyons.
Hoteliers could also back Travelodge's Say No to Bed Tax! campaign by signing its online petition at www.travelodge.co.uk or set up their own petition.
Bed tax bites A Travelodge survey of 2,000 consumers revealed that 85% of British consumers already think UK hotels are too expensive. If faced with added costs from a bed tax:
- 64.5% would be put off holidaying in the UK.
- 77% would be more likely to holiday abroad.
- 67% would reconsider the length of their stay.
- 79% would slash their spending while away.
By Angela Frewin
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