A CONTROVERSIAL bed tax being considered as part of a review into local government funding looks set to be recommended despite overwhelming opposition from tourism businesses in London.
A Visit London survey on the tax, which it is estimated could add between 5% and 10% to room bills in the capital, found 92% were “completely opposed” to the tax and 65% feared if brought in it would cause a major downturn of more than 5% of their revenue.
However, Sir Michael Lyons, who is leading the review, has dismissed the anti-bed tax campaign led by Travel Weekly’s sister publication Caterer and Hotelkeeper as a “sideshow” and indicated he would be recommending greater revenue raising powers for local government in December.
Visit London public affairs manager Craig Beaumont said: “As the proposal currently stands, a blanket bed tax would not be of benefit to visitors, or the businesses that rely on them.
“Revenues from the tax would not be ring-fenced for tourism spending so how would we know that any money raised would be ploughed back into supporting the industry?”
The bed tax is being opposed by many organisations and businesses, including the British Hospitality Association, VisitBritain, Tourism Alliance, and Travelodge. Butlins’ guests at its three UK resorts last week staged sleep-in protests against the tax.
Managing director John Dunford said: “This proposed bed tax would be a huge slap in the face to our loyal guests who rely on Butlins to provide great value fun-packed family breaks in the UK.”
Travelodge chief executive Grant Hearn told the Lyons Inquiry into Local Government, held in London last week, that the tax would be “illogical and grossly unfair” and could price tourists out of certain locations.
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