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Keeping NI hospitality high on the Westminster agenda

Pictured are, from left, Hospitality Ulster CEO Colin Neill, Mark Stewart (Past Chair/Board Member Hospitality Ulster), Olga Walls (Chair, Hospitality Ulster ), Mandy Patrick (NIHF President), Janice Gault (NIHF CEO) and Ciaran O’Neill (NIHF President-Elect).

Pictured are, from left, Hospitality Ulster CEO Colin Neill, Mark Stewart (Past Chair/Board Member Hospitality Ulster), Olga Walls (Chair, Hospitality Ulster ), Mandy Patrick (NIHF President), Janice Gault (NIHF CEO) and Ciaran O’Neill (NIHF President-Elect).

Key representatives from the Northern Ireland hospitality and tourism industry took part in the inaugural British Hospitality Association Lobby Day in Westminster meeting with a wide range of MPs to talk about initiatives to help the sector in Northern Ireland compete more effectively with rival European destinations.

· In Northern Ireland more than 60,000 people are employed in the hospitality industry. Visitors spend more than £1.4bn annually – and the sector is predicted to grow by 15%.
· However VAT is still levied at 20% – almost twice the European average. The situation is further exacerbated by a differential of 11% with the Republic of Ireland where VAT on tourism is levied at 9%.
· No fewer than 25 out of 27 EU countries have reduced rates for hospitality. Industry leaders are campaigning for a lower rate of 5% on hospitality in the UK.
· MPs met representatives from the hospitality and tourism industry including the Hospitality Ulster, Northern Ireland Hotels Federation and hoteliers from the region.

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