Tourist tax launches in first UK city

tourist tax

Manchester [Credit: Jonny Gios on Unsplash]

UK: Manchester has become the first city in the UK to introduce a tourist tax, which will cost an additional £1 per night for accommodation stays.

The City Visitor Charge scheme is expected to generate £3 million annually. It will fund the Manchester Accommodation Business Improvement District (ABID) as well as support large events, conferences, marketing campaigns and street cleanliness.

73 hotels and short stay serviced apartments located within the centre of Manchester and in parts of Salford signed up the scheme. The new charge comes as 6,000 hotel rooms are due to open in Manchester over the coming years, which is expected to attract a further one million overnight stays.

Annie Brown, the first chair of ABID, said: “The goal of the Manchester Accommodation BID is simple – we need to increase overnight stays in line with that growth so that hotels and serviced apartments in the city can continue to thrive.”

Elsewhere in the UK, Wales is also set to introduce legislation that will enable a tourist tax. David Chapman, executive director at UKHospitality Cymru, is “deeply disappointed” with the news. He said: “This tax on beds is widely opposed by the accommodation sector in Wales who see it as anti-competitive and another restriction on an industry in the midst of its recovery and rebuilding effort. 

“While the Welsh government is right that visitor levies are common around the world, what they fail to mention is that in those countries they have a significantly lower level of VAT and other taxes incurred by British hospitality. The introduction of this tourist tax simply raises the tax burden on our businesses even higher to punitive levels compared to the rest of the world, making us yet more uncompetitive compared to similar destinations,” Chapman added.

Edinburgh is another city which is planning to introduce a £2 nightly tourist tax, currently subject to approval from the Scottish parliament. Oxford, Bath and Hull have considered similar moves in the past but opted against the decision.

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