UK falling behind EU rivals on tourist spending after duty chances

Financial Times Daniel Thomas 07.03.22 Britain is losing its position as the favoured destination for high spending international tourists to the EU after the government abolished tax-free shopping at the start of last year, according to a new study. Global Blue, the tax-free shopping refund agency, compared the behaviour of Gulf state tourists in the EU in 2019 with their … Read More

AIR joins new Coalition for International Travel

AIR joined with other businesses to launch a new, economy-wide coalition which believes strongly inthe business case for international travel and its role in a rapid recovery for the UK. The group wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Boris Johnson, informing him of the importance of international travel to the UK economy. The industry supports hundreds of … Read More

Bosses beg Rishi Sunak to bail out TfL after threat to axe Tube lines

The Times 05/12/21 AIR joined eighty business and charity leaders to urge Rishi Sunak to extend his Covid-19 bailout to Transport for London this week to avoid derailing the government’s levelling up agenda. The financial lifeline the chancellor threw to TfL during the pandemic ends on Saturday and, without a solution, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan has warned that one of … Read More

A global city needs a global advantage

Evening Standard 16/11/21 As Chairman of AIR and CEO of the New West End Company, Jace Tyrrell knows what makes a world capital tick, and here he argues for a simpler visa process for the millions of overseas visitors to London. As Christmas shopping kicks into gear across the capital, retailers and leisure operators alike will be hoping for a … Read More

Dixons Carphone shuts airport stores following axing of duty-free shopping

Evening Standard 28/04/21 Electricals retailer Dixons Carphone has decided to close its airport stores business, just months after a scheme allowing VAT-free shopping for overseas tourists was scrapped. The stores will be the first major casualty of the post-Brexit “tourist tax”, which was bitterly fought by retailers, hospitality and other tourism-dependent businesses. Paul Barnes, chief executive of the Association of … Read More

Zut alors: Why London could lose £1.1 billion in fashion sales to Paris

The Telegraph29/01/21 “These people – who mostly come from China and the Middle East – have contributed a huge amount to the British economy but will simply make the choice not to shop in the UK because it is less advantageous to them,” says Paul Barnes, the CEO of Association of International Retail. “We are now the only country in … Read More

Fortnum & Mason boss hits out over tourist tax that could cost businesses at least £2bn

Daily Mail26/12/20 “Paul Barnes, chief executive of the Association of International Retail, said long-distance tourists who travel from places such as China – which puts £1billion into shop tills – may instead skip Britain and head to Paris where the loophole remains. He said: “Non-EU visitors spend around £18billion a year in the UK. Only £3billion is on shopping, which … Read More

Move to end VAT-free shopping for tourists ‘needs more scrutiny’

Telegraph04/12/20 Paul Barnes, chief executive of the Association of International Retail, said: “There is every chance that the £400m, they think they will be making will be more than wiped out … the moment you take away tax free shopping they will go to France or Germany.”  Read the full article here.

What is the tourist VAT tax and why is Duty Free allowance being cut?

Evening Standard03/12/20 Estimates by business bodies such as the Association of International Retail suggest that more than one million high spending tourists will be deterred from visiting Britain, or at the very least, reduce the number and duration of their visits. Read the full article here.