People, Travel

London Tourist Tax Sparks Criticism

BHA criticized the moved az being absolutely folly.BHA criticized the moved az being absolutely folly.

A plan to tax tourists for hotel stays in London was condemned by a leading travel trade body even before it was officially announced. The plan, endorsed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan at a cross-party event inside London’s City Hall on Friday morning, would see visitors paying up to 5% extra on their hotel bills, Travel Weekly UK reported.

But the move was criticized by the British Hospitality Association as an “absolute folly”.

The expected move by Khan follows Camden council in the capital proposing a £1-a-night bed tax earlier this month for hotel stays to offset government funding cuts.

BHA chief executive, Ufi Ibrahim, said, “The mayor of London’s announcement is extremely worrying to London businesses as it provides sharing platforms, such as Airbnb, with an even greater advantage over hotels in the capital because visitors not only do not have to pay VAT on the cost of their stay but also would not be eligible to pay his proposed bed tax.”

She added: “The BHA regards any bed tax as absolute folly and asks the mayor to think again.

“The introduction of a London bed tax will not only cost tourists more but harm already hard-pressed London hospitality and tourism businesses.

 “Tourists in the UK already pay the most tax in Europe and the World Economic Forum currently ranks the UK 140 out of 141 countries in terms of tourism tax competitiveness.”

Ibrahim argued that a bed tax, however small, will discourage guests from staying overnight and reduce the amount they spend in the wider London economy, impacting shops and restaurants as well as hotels.

“Local bed taxes will make it even harder for British businesses to compete,” Ibrahim warned.

 “The UK’s rate of tourism VAT is already twice the European average and, although some European countries have local tourism taxes, they all enjoy a lower rate of tourism VAT so that any negative impact is offset.”

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