England’s former industrial centre is now the first UK city to impose a nightly tourist tax, joining the likes of Venice and Barcelona.
Since now, overnight guests in Manchester city centre hotels will be charged £1 per night, per room.
Overnight guests in city centre hotels will be charged £1 per night, per room, hopefully to raise £3 million per year.
The money will help to fund the new Manchester Accommodation Business Improvement District (ABID), which aims to “improve the visitor experience” and “support future growth of the visitor economy” over the next five years.
Manchester joins Barcelona, Bali and Venice in introducing an overnight tourist tax, a form of targeted fundraising that is becoming increasingly popular around the world. Indeed, many destinations will roll out a tourist tax for the first time in 2023.
Manchester may be the first UK city to introduce a tourist tax, but it is not the first to consider it. In the past decade Oxford, Bath and even Hull have also contemplated the move, but all have stopped short of introducing one.
Edinburgh hopes to establish a £2-per-night tourist tax, after local officials in November 2022 agreed on the policy, which will be presented to the Scottish Parliament for legislative approval. The Scottish Highlands and Islands is also pushing forward a £1 tourist tax that was paused due to the pandemic.
Tourist taxes have been around for a while, and more destinations are either joining the club or raising the amount they will charge visitors for staying the night.
In Barcelona, there is a €4 overnight fee made up of two charges: a regional fee of €2.25 and a city fee of €1.75. On April 1, 2023 the city fee will be raised to €2.75 and then again to €3.25 on April 1, 2024.
Venice has a similar overnight tax, ranging from €1 to €5 depending on the star rating of your accommodation, which is payable for up to five days. But the city is also trying to push through a controversial day-tripper tax of up to €10 per person; this was supposed to come into effect in January 2023, but due to protests the introduction of the levy has been delayed by six months.
Other European countries have similar tourist taxes. In France, you will have a taxe de séjour added to your hotel bill, ranging from €0.25 to €4 per person, per night.
In Greece, there is a tax based on the star rating of your hotel, going up to €4 per room.
In Germany, there is a bed tax (bettensteuer) in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin, amounting to around 5 per cent of your hotel bill.
Other European countries including Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia (summer only), Czechia (Prague only), Hungary (Budapest only), the rest of Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain’s Balearic Islands and Switzerland also charge a tourist tax.
Thailand will begin collecting a tourist tax in June 2023. Those arriving by air will pay 300 baht (£7.12) while those arriving by land or water will pay 150 baht (£3.56).
Bali introduced a US$9 (£7.35) tourist tax in 2019, Malaysia (£3.27), Japan (1,000 yen on exit; £6.17) and New Zealand (NZD$35; £17.78) also charge visitors for the privilege of visiting.
Many Caribbean islands have tourist taxes or departure fees, too, and the US has a room occupancy tax which varies by state, rising as high as 15 per cent in Connecticut.
The most expensive tourist tax of all is in Bhutan, where visitors must pay a “sustainable development fee” of US$200 (£163) per night. Unlike with its previous system, this daily rate no longer covers the cost of hotels, food, transportation and guide services.
Typically a tourist tax is added to a hotel bill or your flight, ferry or cruise ticket, and in nearly all cases the money ostensibly goes towards managing or improving tourism in the area. In Thailand, for example, the projected 3.9 billion baht (£9.2 million) raised in tourist tax fees per year will go in part towards providing health and accident insurance for tourists.