VAT cut: Theme parks not passing on savings

The Smiler, Alton Towers

British theme parks are not passing on the government’s reduction in VAT in their admission charges.

Advanced booking remains £34 at Alton Towers and £39 at Thorpe Park.

The UK government has reduced VAT on tourist attractions from 20% to 5%, for six months.

Merlin has passed on around two-thirds of the cut to its on-day-day admission prices, which are not currently paid due to the requirement to pre-book.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach has not reduced any of its admission prices, with a number of other parks following suit.

Lightwater Valley has reduced its admission prices, but is offering a reduced ride line-up at present.

Merlin has been a prominent campaign for a VAT reduction on attractions and hotel rooms for several years, suggesting that it would reduce prices for guests.

However, amidst a severe revenue drop due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision not to pass on the VAT cut is widely seen as an attempt to recover income in 2020.