Hull council mulls tourism tax for City of Culture

Hull City Council is to explore a possible ‘tourism tax’ to help promote the city as a visitor destination, say reports.

The council is to conduct a feasibility study into the prospect of levying a charge on visitors.

Travel writer Simon Calder said it would put people off spending time in the City of Culture.

The authority told the BBC it was ‘purely an information gathering process’ at this stage.

However, councillor Mike Ross said such a move “just sends out the wrong message to people across the country”.

Paul Vinsen, chairman of Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitality Association, told the BBC: “I think it’s a very poor idea and I don’t think it will work.

“City of Culture has been incredibly successful… and all that good work will go to nothing because when [visitors] come to return they’ll find it more expensive.”

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, told the Hull Daily Mail: “A hotel tax will not only cost tourists more, but harm already hard-pressed Hull hospitality and tourism businesses.

“Tourists in the UK already pay one of the highest rates of tax in Europe and local tourist taxes would make it even harder for British businesses to compete.

“Other European countries which have introduced a tourist tax have a much lower rate of tourism VAT which helps offset any negative impact.

“In addition, a hotel tax would provide sharing platforms, such as Airbnb, with an even greater advantage because visitors do not have to pay VAT on the cost of their stay.”

Tourist taxes have also been mooted in cities such as Bath, and in Wales.