£1 tourism tax on Yorkshire hotels, Airbnbs and B&Bs 'could raise £37.9m' but 'now not the time' say hoteliers
Manchester has become the UK's first city to impose the levy with Wales on course to follow suit.
The Welsh government say tourists will pay a small fee to stay overnight in hotels, Airbnbs or bed and breakfasts, similar to charges in place in more than 40 destinations such as Greece, France, Amsterdam and Barcelona.
The Northern Powerhouse Partnership said Yorkshire and the Humber could raise £37.9m annually, with the money going into “protecting and enhancing our natural and cultural assets”.
Chief executive Henri Murison insisted it was “common sense” and a way of investing in local priorities “without having to ask Treasury every time”. He said: “It’s not fair that the burden of this upkeep or the cost of increased traffic should fall entirely on local residents - nor does it make sense economically.
"You wouldn’t think twice about paying a couple of euros in France or Italy, so why should it be any different here?
However people working in tourism say now is not the time to impose the tax in case it deters visitors who are already cutting back on holidays due to higher bills.
And North Yorkshire Council le ader Carl Les said they "had no plans to introduce a tourism tax".
Shirley Smith, president of Scarborough Hospitality Association, said she was “disgusted” at the prospect of yet another fee. She said: "There’s already small fees on top of everything. How much more are they going to put on people?
"How are they going to collect it and how do we know it’s going to tourism?”
Simon Cotton, managing director of the HRH Group, which operates hotels and restaurants in York and Harrogate, said price was critical towards maintaining footfall.
He said: “If we try and push the price up too much the bookings slow down. People are out there looking for bargains, that’s for sure.
"Wages are the highest level ever, energy rates are the highest they’ve ever been, food costs are the highest.
"Our margins are squeezed like they have never been before. There will be people who will go bust because of that over the next year.
"It is really not the time to be talking about putting another levy on.”
Plans for a tourism tax in Wales will need to be rubber-stamped by the Senedd before they are introduced but they are likely to get passed, it has been reported. It has been suggested the money could go on maintaining local amenities such as beaches, pavements and toilets .
But Fiona Gardham, owner of five star B&B House at Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales, said council tax should cover such things. She said: “ My biggest concern would be that it wouldn’t be used to help promote tourism in Yorkshire – we are going right back to the fact that we don’t have a destination management organi sation. If the proposed levy was used to fund something like that it would maybe be a different matter - but it would have to be done properly this time."