Which UK holiday spots will start taxing tourists?

Funds raised by taxes will be used to help sustain and develop events  (Andrew Matthews / PA)
Funds raised by taxes will be used to help sustain and develop events (Andrew Matthews / PA)

A popular UK holiday destination will become the first coastal region to introduce a "tourist tax".

In a consultation by the Accommodation Business Improvement District (ABID), hotels voted in favour of the levy.

Under the new tax, guests staying in larger hotels will have to pay an extra £2 levy per room, per night.

The tax is predicted to generate £12m over the next five years.

But which tourist hotspots are charging a fee, and when will this tax start?

Which UK holiday spots will start taxing tourists?

Visitors to Dorset (Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole) will be taxed from July 1.

Funds made through the tax will be used to help sustain and develop events such as Bournemouth Air Festival, Arts by the Sea, Poole Christmas Maritime, and Christmas Tree Wonderland.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council has previously announced cost-cutting measures including an end to subsidies for the resort's annual air festival after 2024, and an end to paying for entries to the Blue Flag beach award scheme.

In a statement, ABID said accommodation providers in the BCP area had "come together to form the first of its kind scheme to strengthen and grow tourism in the coastal area". It said the tourist tax has been introduced to "safeguard the local economy" by generating money to attract more visitors to the area.

Chair of the shadow ABID board, Rosie Radwell, from Marsham Court Hotel, said the additional funds would "have a huge impact on the future of tourism" in the area. She added: "I would like to thank our fellow accommodation providers for recognising the power of partnership working and the necessity to act now.

"We are excited about the future and have already started to plan projects and events to enhance tourism in the area."

Councillor Vikki Slade, leader of BCP Council, said: "We congratulate the Accommodation BID on being the first for a coastal destination. We are excited at the prospect of working alongside them to deliver a more productive and resilient visitor economy and destination management."

Does anywhere in the UK already charge tourist tax?

Tourist taxes, also known as transient visitor levies, are not currently permitted by law anywhere in the UK. However, there are some places in the UK that have implemented or are planning to introduce a form of tourist tax.

Although the BCP area is the first seaside resort to introduce the tax, other areas already charge levies. Some city councils, for instance, introduced a tourism-based Business Improvement District (BID) as of April 1, 2023. This is a legal workaround, using existing legal powers, to establishing a form of tourist tax.

In Manchester, 73 hotels and serviced apartments have signed up to the BID, which was introduced ahead of a planned expansion of the hotel and holiday let sector in the city.

Meanwhile, Liverpool levies a type of BID tourist tax on accommodation.

Other types of tourism BIDs exist in England in Blackpool and Great Yarmouth, and in Scotland in the Tweed ValleyMoray and Speyside, and Loch Ness.

Are any other UK resorts planning to charge tourist taxes?

Cornwall, which neighbours Dorset’s BCP area, is looking to implement a tax. However, due to the law, the mayor of St Ives, Johnnie Wells, mentioned that they were talking to holiday firms about a voluntary levy.

Elsewhere in England, Cambridge is also planning to follow Manchester’s lead, after it has proven a financial success.Elsewhere, the Scottish Government has introduced legislation permitting local authorities to levy tourist taxes on short-stay accommodation, and the Welsh Government is also planning to introduce similar laws.

Does the rest of the world have tourist taxes?

Various Caribbean islands already tax tourists (Getty Images)
Various Caribbean islands already tax tourists (Getty Images)

From 2025, everyone looking to visit the European Union will have to pay a tourist visa fee.

However, some countries already charge ‘tourist taxes’ as well.

In Europe, for example, many major countries already charge them, and they vary by city. For example, popular tourist destinations in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland charge differing fees. In some countries, only main tourist hotspots charge, such as Prague in Czechia and Budapest in Hungary.

Meanwhile, Tenerife is planning a tourist tax to deter rowdy Brits. It was come into place on New Year’s Day, 2025.

Elsewhere, Bhutan is known for its steep tourist taxes, Bali also charges a type of tourist tax, while certain Caribbean islands also charge levies, with Japan charging a ‘departure’ tax, plus Malaysia, New Zealand, Thailand and the US all charging some form of levy on international visitors.