Henry Smith MP has led a joint approach from more than 40 parliamentarians to call on the Prime Minister to re-introduce VAT-free shopping and to implement arrivals duty-free shopping.
Members of both Houses of Parliament have written to the Prime Minister urging the Government to re-introduce VAT-free shopping for international visitors and to introduce arrivals duty-free at airports, international rail and ferry terminals in Great Britain.
Henry is leading these calls, in his capacity as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Future of Aviation, to highlight that the failure to bring in these measures is holding back our economy and boosting inbound tourism to nations such as France and Germany.
The letter states that “We know that visitors from key inbound markets such as China and the GCC are price sensitive and figures from this year show that we lag considerably behind our European neighbours in visitor numbers in part due to the lack of tax-free shopping.”
The Crawley MP, whose constituency includes Gatwick Airport, established the APPG in 2020 to stand up for aviation, travel and tourism against the threats posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Government’s refusal to introduce arrivals duty-free shopping and VAT-free shopping is putting off visitors from important markets, holding back our economy and ultimately affecting our global competitiveness.
“Our aviation, travel and tourism industries were amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic and now, instead of working to help these vital businesses boost the recovery from the pandemic, the Government is putting up barriers to high spending tourists and actively boosting the economies of other nations.
“These businesses are vital not only to our local economy, but to the overall economy and is hitting wider businesses and the manufacturing sectors throughout the UK.
“The success of Gatwick Airport has a huge impact on our local economy and the prosperity of local residents from Crawley and the wider south east whose jobs are directly or indirectly connected to Gatwick.
“We urge the Prime Minister to listen to the industry and introduce these two simple measures to boost the UK economy and to reinforce the UK as the best place to visit in the world.”
For more information on the Future of Aviation APPG please visit: www.futureofaviationgroup.org.uk