‘Some people are concerned that introducing an additional cost to visiting Wales could discourage potential tourists’, says Beverley Boden, head of department for aviation, tourism, finance and marketing at Teesside University International Business School.
“The implementation of a tourist tax or visitor levy is a complex issue with varying perspectives, and it’s crucial to consider the impact on all stakeholders involved. While the primary objective is to foster a more sustainable and responsible approach to tourism, it’s important to balance the economic benefits with visitor experience and environmental preservation.
“One potential benefit of a visitor levy is the opportunity to raise funds for public services and sustainable development, supporting local infrastructure, conservation efforts, and community projects, benefitting both residents and visitors alike. Encouraging visitors to contribute financially to the places they visit can also promote more responsible tourism practices, such as supporting eco-friendly accommodations, local businesses, and cultural heritage.
“However, some are concerned that introducing an additional cost to visiting Wales could discourage potential tourists or be perceived as a burden. It’s essential to approach this issue with sensitivity and diplomacy, ensuring transparency, fairness, and clear guidelines that are easy to understand.
“Collaboration between local communities, key stakeholders, and authorities is crucial to ensure that the levy aligns with community needs and tourism goals, fostering a sense of shared responsibility. Continual evaluation and flexibility in the approach are also necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the tourism sector in Wales.
“Tourist taxes or levies have been successfully implemented in many destinations, contributing to both revenue generation and sustainable tourism practices. However, proper implementation, clear communication, and ongoing evaluation are necessary for success.
“The primary objective of the visitor levy is to raise additional revenue for local authorities to reinvest in the public services and infrastructure that make tourism a success in Wales, while ensuring fairness and transparency for all stakeholders involved.
“Tourism provides a significant economic contribution to Wales, with tourism-related expenditure exceeding £5 billion in 2019. Therefore, it’s crucial to approach this issue with sensitivity, diplomacy, and collaboration among stakeholders, considering the perspectives of all parties involved.
“Collaborative approaches, including early consultation before implementation, will ensure a sustainable and responsible tourism industry in Wales while balancing the needs of the economy, the environment, and the visitor experience.
“It is worth acknowledging that the introduction of hotel taxes in renowned European hotspots initially created some tension between visitors and service providers. However, it’s important to recognize that if tourists perceive the benefits of these taxes, they will no longer consider them as an additional payment but rather as an investment in the rejuvenation of the tourism industry.
“On Saturday, April 1, 2023, the Manchester Accommodation Business Improvement District (BID) began its operations as a pioneering initiative led by Manchester’s hotels and serviced apartment providers. The aim of this initiative is to provide better visitor experiences and attract more staying visitors to the city.
“The Manchester Accommodation BID will enable Manchester to better compete in the global market and increase overnight visits at a time when a significant amount of new supply is set to join the Manchester and Salford accommodation market, with 5,850 confirmed new bedrooms incoming across the city-region within the coming years.
“To finance its activities, the Manchester Accommodation BID will utilise the City Visitor Charge – a supplementary £1 charge per room/unit per night for guests, added to the final accommodation bill. This charge will apply to all bookings from April 1, 2023, and will be collected from 73 hotels and serviced apartments that fall within the Manchester ABID Zone.
“The Manchester Accommodation BID funds will be used to amplify marketing campaigns that drive overnight stays, secure large-scale events, conferences, and festivals in low-season months, improve guest welcome and street cleanliness, and provide opportunities to future-proof the city’s growing accommodation sector and wider visitor economy.
“The Manchester Accommodation BID is a timely response to the challenges currently facing the accommodation sector in Manchester, including the recovery from the pandemic and the impact of Brexit on the hospitality industry. This new initiative will help create a more robust and sustainable accommodation sector in Manchester, maximise opportunities to increase occupancy, and ensure that the city remains a top tourist destination.”