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UK’s most luxurious beach town is first to tax tourists – will you be charged?

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HOTELS in Britain’s most exclusive beach resort have become the first in the country to tax people for staying there.

Hoteliers in Millionaires Row Sandbanks were among those who voted to charge visitors extra.


Visitors who flock to Bournemouth in summer will now be charged a ‘tourist tax’Credit: PA
The levy will see tourists charged £1.40 per person per night


The levy will see tourists charged £1.40 per person per nightCredit: Alamy
It's hoped the tax will boost the local economy


It’s hoped the tax will boost the local economyCredit: Alamy
Local leaders have welcomed the move


Local leaders have welcomed the moveCredit: Alamy

This will see those who come to stay forking out an extra £2.40-a-night.

The ‘tourist tax‘, which also affects Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch in Dorset, will generate more than £2million a year with the money being spent on staging future events and cleaning up the resort.

They say it is in response to the cash-strapped local council scrapping funding for some events including the annual Bournemouth Air Festival.

The idea is similar to the tax tourists have to pay in some holiday destinations in Europe and the US.

The Bournemouth Christchurch & Poole Accommodation Business Improvement District (ABID), a board made up of hoteliers and other tourism chiefs, is behind the scheme.

From July 1, 73 of the bigger hotels across the three towns will charge customers an extra £2.40 per night per room – £2 tourism tax and 40p VAT.

The money will help sustain events including the Air Festival, Arts by the Sea, Poole Christmas Maritime and Christmas Tree Wonderland.

Rosie Radwell, managing director of Marsham Court Hotel and chair of ABID, said: “This is good news for the destination and we are thrilled that the accommodation providers have voted in favour.

“The additional funds raised will have a huge impact on the future of tourism in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

“All our public funding is gone, it has been reduced over the last 10-15 years. The council hasn’t had a director of tourism since the last one retired in 2016 and we needed to do something about this.

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“This year the council is helping with funding some events like Poole fireworks and the Bournemouth Air Festival, but next year there are no events planned whatsoever.”

It comes as Thanet Council, in Kent, which covers the seaside towns of Margate and Broadstairs, looked into visitor levies last month.

Such taxes already exist in the likes of Manchester and Liverpool, but they’re said to use a legal loophole.

The local councils levy tax on accommodation by creating a tourism-based Business Improvement District (BID). 

Ms Radwell, of ABID, continued: “For me, making the area a great tourist destination to come is important. If we don’t have any events what have we got to offer?

“There are about 20 other UK destinations looking at doing this and I think this will become common place across the whole of England.

“Some have said why don’t we wait and see what others do but I think let’s lead the way and be the first.

“We need to create this to help our area become the beautiful resort we should be.”

‘Tourist tax’ across the UK:

MailOnline reports Manchester charges £1-a-night per person, and Liverpool is said to charge 1.6% of the accomodation bill.

But Liverpool councils are looking to raise the cost to 5.5% over the next five years.

But other parts of the country are looking to introduce tourist taxes, too.

Birmingham and Cornwall are proposing a £1-a-night tax, while Edinburgh is looking at £14 a night.

Cambridge City Council had been debating a £2 charge per person, per night, to rise to £3 

While Wales is looking to charge up to £21 a night, and London £60.

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