Manchester has become the first UK city to launch a “tourist tax” for visitors from 1 April 2023. The City Visitor Charge will mean that those staying in hotels face an extra £1 per room, per night, for their accommodation cost. The money will be used to help to run large events, conferences, festivals, marketing campaigns and for street cleanliness.
Manchester City Council chief executive Joanne Roney said the “innovative initiative” would raise £3million a year to enhance visitors’ experience. It would create “new events and activities for them to enjoy”, she said, adding that the money would be “invested directly into these activities, supporting Manchester’s accommodation sector to protect and create jobs and benefiting the city’s economy as a whole”.
Some 73 hotels and serviced apartments signed up to the levy scheme.
However, it seems as though many were unaware of the initiative including coach operators who were suddenly faced with an increased bill from hotels, without any warning. UK Coach Operator Association member Coopers Tours only found out when they queried an invoice and ended up meeting the increased cost on behalf of their customers.
Whilst the UKCOA can understand the logic of introducing a tourist tax, it appears as though it was not communicated effectively to the coach industry and has effectively left those operators who have had overnight stays in Manchester since 1 April out of pocket.
In addition to Manchester, Edinburgh City Council has been campaigning for the powers to introduce a levy on tourists since 2018. It is believed that they have approved plans for each person to be taxed £2 for every night they are staying in the capital, capped at seven nights.
The then First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced last September that she would press ahead with plans to give councils the power to apply the tax on overnight stays. However, this has still not taken place.
UK Coach Operators Association