UK holidaymakers demand the Government levies a tourist tax on overseas visitors

UK holidaymakers demand the Government levies a tourist tax on overseas visitors

UK holidaymakers are demanding the British Government introduces a tourism levy for overseas visitors to the country as they are fed up with having to pay such taxes when travelling overseas, reveals research released today (Monday 5 November) from World Travel Market London.

This year New Zealand and Barbados have announced plans for a tourism tax, following the example of many other destinations that charge tourists for their stay. Many countries that are popular with UK tourists charge fees for visitors, including Spain, Italy, France and the US.

In a poll of more than 1,000 UK holidaymakers, well over half (57%) do not think tourists should have to pay such taxes. However, when asked if the UK should follow suit, almost half (45%) agreed that a tourism tax should be imposed on the 40 million annual overseas visitors who come to the British Isles.

The number of overseas visitor nights spent in the UK during 2017 reached 285 million, so a £2 levy per night could raise £570 million – which could be used for tourism marketing, improving infrastructure and tackling overtourism.


In October 2018, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ordered a consultation into allowing councils to set local tourist taxes.

Edinburgh City Council has been calling for a ‘transient visitor levy’ and is holding its own consultation on plans to charge £2 per room, per night – which could raise £11 million a year to help cope with the impact of tourism on the Scottish capital.

The English city of Bath has also considered charging a levy of £1 or more to raise about £2.5 million a year, but tourism businesses fear it will be difficult to administer and deter visitors.

Meanwhile, Birmingham is looking at a possible charge on visitors to help pay for the 2022 Commonwealth Games which will be hosted in the city.

Elsewhere, Lake District MP Tim Farron has launched survey about a possible tourism levy but the concept was criticised by Cumbrian tourism bodies and hoteliers.

Paul Nelson of WTM London said: “It can seem galling for British holidaymakers to have to pay extra for a ‘tourism tax’ when they’re overseas, yet there are no similar levies here in the UK.

“Such a tax could raise hundreds of million of pounds a year which could be invested back into UK infrastructure.”

The hospitality and travel industries have been lobbying against such a levy pointing out that tourists already have to pay hefty taxes via VAT of 20% and Air Passenger Duty (APD), which are notably higher in the UK than elsewhere.

Trade body UKHospitality says the hospitality sector employs 2.9 million people, and represents 10% of UK employment, 6% of businesses and 5% of GDP.  While, UKinbound, which represents the inbound tourism trade, said overseas visitors contributed £24.5 billion to the economy in 2017 – making the tourism industry the UK’s fifth largest export earner.

“A tourism tax might seem one solution to a particular issue, but looking at the wider picture the inbound travel and hospitality industry would say it would seem wise not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.”


World Travel Market London takes place at ExCeL – London between Monday 5 November and Wednesday 7 November. Around 50,000 senior industry executives fly into London to agree deals worth more than £3 billion. These deals are the holiday routes, hotels and packages that holidaymakers will experience in 2019.

World Travel Market London polled 1,025 2018 UK holidaymakers.



About World Travel Market

World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises six leading B2B events across four continents, generating more than $7bn of industry deals. The events are:

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. About 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating about £2.8 billion of travel industry contracts. Next event: 5-7 November 2018 – London.

T>F Travel Forward is a new travel technology event co-located with WTM London 2018 and part of the WTM portfolio of events. The inaugural T>F Travel Forward conference, exhibition and buyer programme will take place on 5 – 7 November 2018 at ExCeL London, showcasing next-generation technology for travel and hospitality.

WTM Latin America, now in its fifth edition, attracts about 9,000 unique senior executives. The event generates about US$374 million of new business. Taking place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, this show attracts a global audience to meet and shape the direction of the travel industry. More than 7,000 unique visitors attend the event to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry news. Next event: 3-5 April 2018 – Sao Paulo.

WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Nearly 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors. Next event: 18-20 April 2018 – Cape Town.

Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2017 attracted almost 40,000 industry professionals, agreeing deals worth US$2.5 billion over the four days. The 25th edition of ATM will showcase more than 2,500 exhibiting companies across 12 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre, making it the largest ATM in its 25-year history. Next event: 22-25 April 2018 – Dubai.

International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) is the meeting place for the global B2B golf travel community. Taking place annually since 1998, IGTM brings together more than 500 golf tourism suppliers and 400 pre-qualified buyers for four days of unmissable pre-scheduled appointments and exclusive networking opportunities. Showcasing a different golf destination every year, IGTM brings together 1,400 golf tourism professionals from more than 65 countries. Next event: 15-18 October 2018 – Slovenia.

About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events business, enhancing the power of face-to-face through data and digital tools at more than 500 events a year, in more than 43 countries, attracting more than seven million participants. East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 41 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of the RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.

About Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions is the world’s leading travel and tourism events organiser with a growing portfolio of more than 22 international travel and tourism trade events in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Our events are market leaders in their sectors, whether they are global and regional leisure travel trade events, or specialist events for meetings, incentives, conference, events (MICE) industry, business travel, luxury travel, travel technology as well as golf, spa and ski travel. We have more than 35 years’ experience in organising world-leading travel exhibitions.

More information, please contact:

Paul Nelson – WTM Portfolio PR Manager


T: +44 (0)20 8910 7032/ M: +44 (0)79 1955 5510


Natalia Hartmann – WTM Portfolio PR Executive


T: +44 (0)20 8439 5535/ M: +44 (0)74 0336 7331

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World Travel Market brings the travel industry together through world leading events, content and digital tools, that make it easier for you to find personal and business opportunities and do more effective business.

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