A coalition of hospitality industry players behind the long-running Cut Tourism VAT campaign have handed Blackstock PR and Jefferson Communications new media relations and public affairs briefs respectively following a pitch process.
The hires come as the campaign seeks to ratchet up pressure on the Government to reduce the rate of VAT on hotel accommodation and attractions, with the effort given front-page backing by The Sun today.
A spokeswoman for the British Hospitality Association, which is heavily involved in the campaign, said the hires represented a "conscious effort" at "pulling together and giving the campaign a new sense of drive".
"It’s the countdown to the election and we want to get the message out loud and clear ahead of [political party] manifesto writing, plus it chimes with the news agenda in that it’s the summer and people are going on holidays," she added.
Currently, the UK Government charges all holidaymakers 20 per cent VAT, but the campaign argues for a cut to five per cent and points to countries like Portugal, Holland and Belgium, which levy six per cent tax on all hotels, holiday camps and tourist attractions.
The campaigners argue that the cut would lead to a £4bn boost to the UK's GDP.
As part of the new retained briefs the agencies will be working on both a local and national level, with broadcast seen as one of the campaign’s key drivers.
Calling for PROs from across tourism and leisure to come out in support of the campaign, Blackstock MD Andrew Teacher said:
"This is an important issue not just for the tourism sector but for the many regions across the UK reliant on hotels and attractions. Our focus is on bringing key facts to life in a way that engages consumers, politicians and the media.
"There’s a massive opportunity here for the sector to really hammer home its role in creating investment and jobs, particularly for young people. Politicians queue up to cut ribbons in front of car factories but they forget tourism is a valuable British export that’s the backbone of many constituencies."