LONDON: The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has expressed its outrage that proposals for a London hotel bed tax are being discussed. The London Assembly Economy Committee met on Tuesday, 7 November to discuss the proposals for a ‘tourist tariff’ introducing a hotel bed tax, which it is claimed would potentially raise between £91m to £364m a year for the UK economy.
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the BHA, 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 £57b to the UK’s GDP.”
The London Finance Commission proposed the measure in a report in January detailing the devolution of power from central government to the capital, which was commissioned by mayor of London Sadiq Khan following last year’s vote to leave the European Union. New York, Paris and Berlin have such a system in place.
Ibrahim added: “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.”