Roman city Bath may soon become first in Britain to apply tourist tax

Published on : Tuesday, January 10, 2017

bathFounded by the Romans as a thermal spa, the city of Bath may soon impose tourist tax in addition to the basic room rate and VAT for the overnight visitors.



The local council is considering to introduce “tourist bed tax” for hotels and B&Bs which is expected to help  the finances of Bath and North East Somerset. The council is faced with £37m in cuts over the next five years. This will serve as a source for generating additional revenue, said Mr Gerrish, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency.



Many European countries request guests to make a very small contribution to the local authority in addition to the hotel bill. This is particularly evident in Italy, where they ask visitors to pay something like one euro per head per night.



However, no other part of the UK is believed to collect such a tax although the germ of this idea has initiated in Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands. The Balearic Islands of Spain spurred controversy last summer when it launched a tourist tax of up to €2 per person per night. Many Italian cities impose much higher charges, with Rome adding €10 per night for a double room.



Outside London, Bath has the UK’s highest hotel rates. The British Hospitality Association (BHA) opposes tourist taxes. Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of BHA even called for a reduction in the VAT. He added to his comments that with political and economic uncertainty increasing it is more important than ever to ensure UK tourism can compete. The UK continues to have on average twice the tourism VAT rate across Europe.



Bath welcomes a huge number of international tourists every year, so it might be sensible to consider the potential for increasing the Council’s income to help support local services. It will eventually help to invest in the local area and address the financial challenges it faces.

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