Simon Kershaw, chairman of the northern region committee of the British Hospitality Association (BHA), has described the proposed introduction of a levy on overnight tourists in York as “discriminatory and potentially very damaging.”
The levy – which would be up to £1 per night per person – was proposed by the York Fairness Commission, a body set up by the city council to give its residents more of a say over issues affecting York. Overseen by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, the commission’s report recommended a tourist tax which would be able to help free up other parts of the council’s budget.
York hoteliers argue that this tax will deter visitors from coming to the ancient city, a view now shared by Mr Kershaw. “A ‘bed tax’ in York would hugely disadvantage hoteliers because it would drive potential visitors to stay in nearby towns, only for them to make a day trip to York. Who would gain by that? Certainly not hoteliers in York,” he said.
The commission’s report will be discussed in a York City Council Cabinet meeting today (14 February).