BHA Comments on London ‘Tourist Tax’ Discussed by City Hall

Ufi Ibrahim Chief Executive British Hospitality Association
Ufi Ibrahim
Chief Executive
British Hospitality Association

The introduction of a “tourist tax” is to be discussed by the London Assembly.

Over 40 million overnight visitors are expected to visit the capital a year by 2025 – an increase of 30% on the 2016 numbers.

Supporters believe between £91 million and £364 million could be raised from a small tourism charge levied on accommodation, with a suggestion that the  money be used to support culture and tourism.

The scheme, which is already in place across major cities such as New York, Berlin and Paris, is to be discussed on Tuesday at City Hall.

Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association, said:

“The London tourism tax will unfairly penalise hard-pressed Britons, who make up the overwhelming proportion of visitors to London. Sadiq Khan has proclaimed “London is Open”, yet is backing a tax on anyone coming for a weekend break in the capital, professionals going about their business and holidaymakers with their families. It’s a tax on fun and business. This isn’t just about top end hotels, it’s about hard working people on budget breaks too. This levy threatens our industry, which is the lifeblood of the UK’s economy, employing over half a million people in London, and generating an estimated £57 billion to the UK’s GDP.

“Hospitality and tourism are highly price sensitive, and domestic and international visitors have significant destination choice, as do business tourism, event organisers and investors. Domestic tourists in the UK already pay one of the highest rates of tax in Europe and the World Economic Forum currently ranks the UK 135 out of 136 countries in terms of tourism tax competitiveness.”