Melia Pro

Published on Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Plan for London tourism tax meets fierce opposition

Travel industry chiefs have expressed their alarm at plans for a London tourism tax, saying it would be disastrous.

The London Assembly is asking for devolved powers to levy a tax on visitors.

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 UK is are already 140th out of 141 countries in terms of competitiveness and VAT is double what it is in many other countries. Whichever way you look at it, we are unable to compete," she said.

"The question is who are we taxing when 88% of tourists are hard-working Brits that stay one night in London and do a trip to the theatre."

Tom Jenkins, chief executive of the European Tourism Association ETOA, added: "No city imposes a tourism tax unless it is absolutely desperate."

Industry figures also argued that any tax would be difficult and expensive to collect and, under UK law, cannot be ring fenced to fund tourism infrastructure and services.

Ibrahim said even without a tax, tourism businesses in the capital faced cost pressures, particularly business rates.

"At the moment, we are competing with two hands tied behind our backs. At least release one hand," she said.

She said her 'single silver bullet' would be to reduce VAT on tourism services and accommodation, which is currently levied at the standard 20% to 5%.

The lost taxation would be recouped within two years as the number of visitors increased, she added.

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  • More taxes

    I see that we are approaching the highest level of taxation on uk taxpayers ever. Adding another tax helps no-one except politicians. We all have to budget to politiciians this means we can only spend what we earn. All this proposal will do is reduce the number of visitors to London. Politicans how about saving some money. Move the London Asembly to outer London and rent out the current building.

    By Paul Johnston, Thursday, November 9, 2017

  • UK Government - stop pontificating.

    Tourism taxes in other countries are ,as far as I understand, only used for local tourism infrastructure .If the UK law system is so archaic not to be able to "ring fence" local taxes for specific purposes then it needs to be changed. Bring down VAT on all hotel,food ,entertainment services and then apply a small tax in hotels - just like all our other European and world-wide competitors. It's time the UK government woke up and stopped pontificating.

    By Michael Edwards, Wednesday, November 8, 2017

  • Don't be surprised

    This is yet another example of useless politicians who have no clue at all about anything to do with the industry and the massive damage they can cause through their ignorance.

    By Keith Standen, Wednesday, November 8, 2017

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