Such charges are common in other European countries but has never caught on in the UK – but Liverpool BID boss Bill Addy and Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram are both open to the idea. Tony McDonough reports
A ‘tourism tax’ levied on visitors staying in Liverpool could raise up to £3m a year and has the support of one of the city’s main business leaders.
A new city council report says a small charge – perhaps £1 a night – could be levied on hotel guests. Such charges are common in other European countries but has never caught on in the UK.
Hotel industry body, UKHospitality, is against such charges but the idea has won support from Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company. The BID represents 1,500 businesses in the city’s commercial and retail areas and says such a charge could offer a significant boost.
“I would welcome and encourage a thorough debate around the issue of a tourism tax for Liverpool,” said Mr Addy.
“A £1 per hotel bed/per night tax could generate up to £3m a year, which would then be ring-fenced for the visitor economy to allow us to deliver a programme of support for culture and tourism.
“Liverpool has a burgeoning visitor economy that needs continuous investment for it to sustain its growth.
“We need to support businesses and invest in skill development across the sector, covering a whole range of roles, from front to back of house. The debate needs to include all sectors of the visitor economy.”
Liverpool city region’s visitor economy has grown significantly in recent years and is now worth more than £4bn a year. There are now almost double the number of hotels in the city there were 10 years ago and last year around 2m rooms sold in 2017.
Support also came from Enda Rylands of the Liverpool Hospitality Association, who said: “There’s less funding out there coming from government and from Europe for obvious reasons so we need to have that fighting fund to allow us to compete on a worldwide stage.”
And Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram was also open to it. He added: “If the Government is looking for a pilot area it could be the Liverpool city region whose tourist industry is literally booming at the moment.”