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Public back introduction of a tourism tax in new poll

More than half of all people think their local council should have the power to introduce some form of tourism levy, according to a new survey.

The survey by Populus for the Local Government Association found that 53% of those surveyed think their council should be able to charge tourists a small fee to help fund local services that support tourism in their area.

The LGA believes that a pound-per-night tourism tax in England could raise between £238,000 and over £7m a year depending on the area.

At present, no local authority in the United Kingdom has the power to introduce such a levy, although the Scottish Government has been consulting on the idea.

However, many cities in Europe already have tourism taxes which are levied via the hotel sector and tend to be set and administered locally by the relevant municipal authority.

In Venice, hotels charge a city tax charged of 3.50 Euros per person per night for 3-star hotels, 4.50 Euros per person per night for 4-star hotels and 5 Euro per person per night for 5-star hotels.

And in Barcelona, visitors are charged up to 2.25 Euros per person a day, depending on the type of accommodation that the traveller chooses for their stay in the city.

In December 2019, Highland Council decided to move forward with introducing a Highland Transient Visitor Levy, when legislation permits, after a local authority survey found widespread support for the idea.

Almost two-thirds (65.1%) of all respondents to an online survey were in favour of a tourism tax, although this varied between businesses, residents and visitors.

‘Giving councils the ability to introduce a local tourism levy means they could reinvest some of the tax income generated by this tourism into their local area into the services that are attracting visitors,’ said the chair of the LGA’s culture, tourism and sport board, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

‘Councils are best-placed to boost visitor economies and are trying to find innovative ways of supporting and boosting culture and heritage.’

Photo Credit – JESHOOTS.com (Pixabay)

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