Tax-free shopping deserves a second look

The Times Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown 15.11.22 When the chancellor cancelled most of the proposals in the poorly-received former Growth Plan, he calmed the markets. But he also threw away one growth measure that had been widely welcomed — the reintroduction of tax-free shopping. Restoring tax-free shopping for international visitors was set to deliver a multi-billion pound boost to Britain’s tourism, … Read More

UK executives stunned as chancellor shreds ‘pro-business’ mini-Budget

Financial Times Daniel Thomas, Jim Pickard, Oliver Barnes 17.10.22 Paul Barnes, chief executive of the Association of International Retail, said the decision to reverse plans to reintroduce VAT-free shopping for international visitors “will come as a hammer blow to UK tourism and the British high street”. To read more, click here.

Fashion retail calls for stability following emergency fiscal plan

Drapers Zoe Hu and Sabina Weston The government announced plans last month to consult on introducing a new tax-free shopping scheme for Great Britain, and said it would modernise the one in place in Northern Ireland. The government abolished the VAT Retail Export Scheme (RES) on 31 December 2020, when the Brexit transition period ended, arguing that it offered little benefit to many … Read More

VAT free shopping U-turn ‘major blow’ for West End as tourists shun London for Paris and Milan

Emily Hawkins 20.10.22 Scrapping VAT free shopping for tourists is a “major blow” for London and the country’s economy, a group representing luxury stores in the West End and other retail hotspots has said. Paul Barnes, chief executive of the Association of International Retail (AIR) – whose members range from Bicester Airport to Heathrow Airport – told CityA.M. the policy had been “one … Read More

Everything that Jeremy Hunt has thrown out of the mini-Budget

The Telegraph Tim Wallace, Hannah Boland, Charlotte Gifford, Lauren Almeida and Eir Nolsoe 17.10.22 Tourists will not benefit from the return of tax-free shopping to Britain as Mr Hunt sought to claw back £2bn in savings, prompting fierce criticism from industry leaders. Retailers said the U-turn would be a hammer blow to tourism and the high street. Paul Barnes, chief … Read More

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

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

How the UK became the sick man of European tourism

CNN 13/11/21 A spokesperson for the UK’s Association of International Retail told CNN that the axing of the scheme is predicted to lead to a drop of 38% in retail sales to non-EU visitors, compared to 2019 — a loss of £1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) to the economy. But that’s not all. “There are also likely to be indirect losses as high-spending … Read More

Tax-Free Sales, The Traveler Experience, And The Airport Financial Model

Forbes 09/03/2021   Paul Barnes CEO of the Association of International Retail (AIR) tells “Tax-free sales, apart from in Hainan, are virtually zero across the world right now because there is not much international travel due to the pandemic. When travel resumes, high spenders who travel a lot will choose to shop in Paris or Milan and skip Britain for … Read More

Bye, bye tax-free shopping

National Herald India18/12/20 “Madrid, Milan and Paris are rubbing their hands with glee at this self-inflicted wound,” said Paul Barnes, head of the Association of International Retail. “If we charge a fifth more for the same goods, international visitors will not hesitate to switch their city breaks to other countries”. Read the full article here.