London is understood to be considering introducing a tourist tax, which would got visitors an extra £2.50 per night on their hotel stays in the capital.
The idea is being mooted in a bid to bring in an extra £100m for London annually. The capital’s mayor Sadiq Khan is supporting the idea and has backed research into the suggestion.
The London Finance Commission is suggested that the city should be able to impose small taxes, and that a levy on tourism ought to be looked at. Tourists to a number of places across the globe, including Rome, New York and Paris already have to pay such a tax.
If London does go ahead and introduce the tax, then the cash will be used to promote tourism in London. Camden Council provided evidence for the study, saying that officials believed a hotel level or tourism tax should be considered in order to fund services in the area, which are under increasing pressure as a result of high visitor numbers. The money could also be used to improve cultural activities in the area.
The Visitors’ Art Foundation, which provides help and support to London’s cultural attractions and libraries, said that a £2.50 per visitor per night tax could bring in just over £100m annually.
Mr Khan said he was giving his backing to the report, with a source adding that he supported the hospitality industry in London and the vital role it played in boosting the capital’s economy.
However, not everyone is happy about the suggestion of extra costs for tourists. UKinbound, which represents more than 370 tourism industry businesses, said that authorities should be encouraging more tourists to come to the UK, rather than looking on visitors as a “cash cow”. Chief executive Deirdre Wells said that the introduction of a levy would be a backwards step for tourism in Britain.