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Should London have a tourist tax?

In some big European cities (and small ones too) like Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Rome, there is a tourist tax. Further afield New York has one too. These vary from fixed rates depending on your class of accommodation or percentages of your accommodation price. Some may charge per person and others per room.

In Rome it ranges from 2 to 7 euros per night. In New York it is $2 +13.25% per night.

With over 30m visitors from the rest of the UK and abroad, London is one of the most visited cities in the world, so there could be a lot to earn. Obviously the cities I've mentioned receive a lot of visitors too, so it would seem the tourist tax doesn't deter too many visitors.

Visit Britain says the average stay in the UK is 7 nights. If each visitor to London paid 1 tax per night the city would raise 210m. That perhaps doesn't seem a lot for what London councils spend each year but for some context, the GLA contributed 123m towards Crossrail last year and 117m on its affordable housing plan.

Do you think it should happen? If so, how would you want it; imposed by the boroughs, at GLA level, or something else? Would you exempt locals (like in Amsterdam)? And how much would you want to charge? Would you add it onto AirBnb and other rentals too?

London | 👁 1371 | Posted February 12, 2018 | Share on Facebook | Twitter | Google+

| Modified: February 12, 2018 | Author:

14 Comments

Rufus2227 2 years ago

No but it should have a 500 tax on people who wear backpacks on the tube, people dragging huge suitcases down Oxford Street and people who stop dead at the bottom of the escalator.

harberton 2 years ago

You can tax by hotel room, including AirBnB. AirBnB charges have occupancy taxes where applicable: https://www.airbnb.nl/help/article/653/in-what-areas-is-occupancy-tax-collection-and-remittance-by-airbnb-available

yurri 2 years ago

There is only one kind of visa in the UK for all non-business related visits. People coming for a week as tourists and people coming for a month to see relatives all get the same 6 month visitor visa. How are you going to distinguish or do you want any foreign visitor to pay? As to taxing the hotels - good luck with that, next house to be put on AirBnb is going to be your neighbour's then.

benclifford 2 years ago

There already is approximately a hotel tax: roughly, VAT is charged on short term accomodation (i.e. a 7 day tourist hotel stay) and not on long term accomodation (my 12 month flat lease).

Djn7sEeVEDr7D 2 years ago

No, I don't like these taxes in other cities, and I don't think we should have one in London.

[deleted] 2 years ago

Tourist tax, yeah because london isn't expensive enough already. Let's make it more expensive and price people out. Great. Fucking. Idea.

nigelfarij 2 years ago

Yes, I agree we should have one. I wouldn't call it "tourist tax" though, as the name is quite off-putting: how about "non resident council tax"?

jimmyhoffa523 2 years ago

I don't think it's irrational to add a hotel tax (which is not the same thing as a tourist tax). But given how much VAT and public transit costs, it's not as though we are missing out on tax income from tourists that other cities are gettingat the current rates, I would guess VAT and public transit earn more from tourists in London than sales tax, transit costs, and hotel tax combined earn in NY. Another option would including charging for museums for non-UK residentsI hate this idea, but given that non-UK residents are not paying for the museums via income tax, it has some logic. For comparison, museums and attractions in India that I've been to cost 20x the price for non-citizens.

harberton 2 years ago

As I said that figure is for the UK. For international visitors to London it is 6.4 days. Sales tax in New York is actually 8.875% (city plus state). And only three EU countries have a standard VAT rate lower than ours, the lowest being 17%. So it's not like we gouge people on that. We also allow tax free shopping. New York State does not. Our government isn't benefitting from VAT income from big sales to non EU tourists.

harberton 2 years ago

Because councils are facing lots of cuts so they need to find new revenue streams, so this could be one option. A visitor to London might not be using Camden's libraries. But they are using its streets, potentially dropping litter on a night out, visiting its parks and so on. If London gets loads more tourists paying more VAT and keeping existing shops open then that's good for the economy locally and nationally, but that doesn't mean the councils where they visit get more grant from the government. But they do have to deal with the negative side of tourism and maintain their boroughs to keep them attractive to tourists. Allowing them to generate income from a tax is one way to address this.

harberton 2 years ago

I guess the name for it and how you'd implement is up for discussion. But you could argue a commuter tax like that shouldn't be implemented under the same principle as guitarromantic's comment. I work in the City of London but don't live there, but what services of that council do I use? The pavements and roads, streetlighting and sometimes a bin (but they don't have many) but I do contribute in terms of spending my wages there on lunch or some shopping after work and so on. While another council gets my council tax. And in that instance you could perhaps argue longer distance commuters already pay more they already pay their share (although per mile will vary on all the different routes)

throwveryfaraway3 2 years ago

Tourist tax or Hotel tax? In NYC it's a hotel tax, not a tourist tax. Said tax can be deduction for companies as an operating expense or for individuals filing within the US. I think a commuter tax, at the higher income brackets, might make a bit more sense (those that utilise city services on an on going basis, but don't live within the city).

thejamsandwich 2 years ago

Full price single tickets on the tube are enough of a tax

guitarromantic 2 years ago

This makes no sense to me. It's not like tourists come to London and take advantage or freeload somehow, so they need to be "taxed". They already contribute tons to the economy. I mean, every tat shop around Leicester Square selling red London buses with Union flags on the side would go out of business without tourists. Why charge them more?


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