The UK’s first tourism tax hasn’t put off visitors, say city businesses
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Manchester businesses have said that, six months on, the tourism tax has been a success and that they “hope to see the results soon”.
A tourism tax was implemented earlier this year in the city, with visitors having to pay a £1 tax per room per night to stay in a Manchester hotel.
It is part of a scheme that city officials hope will raise £1million a year. It is the first of its kind in the UK.
The assistant manager at the Lowry Hotel said the scheme hasn’t received much kickback from guests.
“Most guests understand, 95 percent of people are okay with it and it hasn’t seemed to put people off,” she said. “Tourists are used to it as well, there are taxes in other European cities.
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“It’s mainly locals who aren’t so happy, they blame Andy Burnham and say ‘what is he doing?’ But when we say it’s to support the hospitality industry they are okay with it.
“I think it’s too early to tell if it’s bringing more tourists in, we’ll hopefully start seeing the results soon. That will at least give us something to tell people when they ask why there’s a charge. But so far, so good.”
Local businesses agree that the scheme hasn’t had a negative impact on the city, with a manager at comic book shop Travelling Man saying they “hadn’t noticed a change at all” and its effect on tourism seems “completely neutral”.
While Emma Lout, the general manager at Forsyth Bros music shop, said: “There’s a logic as to why it was imposed and I’m not aware of any negative effects. We haven’t noticed fewer tourists coming in.
“It’s not a huge amount to pay, only £1 a day, and it will hopefully have a positive impact long-term with investment into the city.”
“Tourists are used to it as well, there are taxes in other European cities.
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The scheme was voted in by city hoteliers last year and put in place in April, with four in five voting for the tax.
The money raised will fund the new Manchester Accommodation Business Improvement District, which aims to “improve the visitor experience” and “support future growth of the visitor economy”.
There are hopes that the scheme will add 6,000 hotel rooms to Manchester and lead to a million extra overnight stays.
Many European cities have implemented a similar tax for tourists including Rome, Venice and Barcelona.
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