Proposed London tourist tax denounced by hospitality industry

Proposed London tourist tax denounced by hospitality industry

UKinbound has strongly denounced proposals put forward by councils and the mayor of London to introduce a bed tax for tourists.

UKinbound chief executive officer, Deirdre Wells, explained: “Introducing a bed tax would be a retrograde step for UK tourism.

“Every inbound tourist already contributes an additional £630 in export earnings and £216 to the exchequer, and the UK has one of the most punitive tax systems for tourism in the world.

“Inbound tourism generates over £22 billion for the UK economy making it our seventh biggest export earner and one of our largest employers.

“Councils across the country need to do all they can to encourage more tourists to visit their destinations, not see them as a cash cow.”

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UKinbound is a trade association representing over 370 of the UK’s tourism businesses.

The reaction comes after London mayor Sadiq Khan mooted the introduction of a possible tax.

Khan said that tourists should contribute more to the city they visit; suggesting visitors could be forced to pay up to five per cent extra on their hotel bills.

“London is the number one destination for tourists in the world,” he said.

“Hotels do very well out of that.

“What we are saying is when the tourists come they opt to pay a small level which will help improve the city.”

Under the proposals local authorities would be given the option of imposing the levy, which would then be used to pay for infrastructure and environmental improvements in the city.

However, the plans were met with immediate fury by the hospitality industry.

In a statement the British Hospitality Association also condemned the plans.

“The British Hospitality Association regards any bed tax as absolute folly and asks the mayor to think again,” BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said.

“The introduction of a London bed tax will not only cost tourists more but harm already hard-pressed London hospitality and tourism businesses.”