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Published on : Friday, November 10, 2017
Speaking at London’s World Travel Market this week, Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association (BHA), said the idea was one ‘that gives great concern’. The London Assembly Economy Committee met to further discuss the tax which it says could add between £91m to £364m a year to the UK economy.
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said: “The London tourism tax will unfairly penalise hard-pressed Britons, who make up the overwhelming proportion of visitors to London. Sadiq Khan has proclaimed “London is Open”, yet is backing a tax on anyone coming for a weekend break in the capital, professionals going about their business and holidaymakers with their families. Ibrahim added that conversely, a tourism tax would penalise UK visitors to the capital most. “The question is who are we taxing? Eighty-eight per cent of tourists are hard-working Brits that stay one night in London and do a trip to the theatre.”
More than 40 million overnight visitors are expected to visit the capital a year by 2025 – a rise of 30% on the 2016 numbers. The supporters of the tourism tax believes that between £91 million and £364 million could be raised from a small tourism charge levied on accommodation. And, it will eventually help to support culture and tourism.
Chief executive of the European Tourism Association ETOA, Tom Jenkins said that “no city imposes a tourism tax unless it is absolutely desperate.”
Major tourism cities such as New York, Berlin and Paris have already seen the scheme of tourist tax in place. The travel industry experts also suggested that any tax in the name of tourism would be difficult to collect; and specially under the UK law, it cannot be enclosed specifically to fund the tourism infrastructure and services.