Manchester will begin charging tourists at hotels – but claims it won't be 'off-putting'

The first city in the UK to start charging visitors is Manchester – a popular student city in the north of England. The visitor charge, sometimes known as a tourist tax, intends to earn millions of pounds to be used for “improving the visitor experience.”

The decision is in line with those made by European cities like Barcelona and Venice.

Visitors staying at hotels in the city centre will be charged £1 a night, per room, starting on April 1.

The new Manchester Accommodation Business Improvement District (ABID), which intends to “support future growth of the visitor economy” over the next five years, is said to benefit from the scheme’s anticipated £3million in annual revenue.

There are multiple benefits to having a tourist tax on a popular city such as Manchester.

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A tourist tax could represent the true expenses of tourism, for instance. Tourism creates additional costs for things like picking up rubbish, providing parking, maintaining clean beaches, and constructing public walks.

The local taxpayer is usually responsible for bearing these expenditures, whereas the primary beneficiaries of tourism are the businesses that cater to tourists.

A fee for tourists should not deter travellers from visiting Manchester. For instance, a weekly stay for a family of four would cost £28 more if there was a tax of about £1 per person, per night.

A £1 tax is less than one percent of the cost of a night’s stay at a modest hotel, which is less than the rate of inflation.

The tax, according to the ABID head Annie Brown, will help the city and tourists.

Ms Brown claimed in an interview with the Manchester Evening News: “I think [the message it sends] has been a consideration, however when you compare it to European cities that have had taxes and visitor levies in place for a number of years, we feel it’s a small amount comparatively.

“There are other cities in the UK looking to put in place what Manchester has done, I don’t think it’s a charge that’s off-putting.” have contacted Manchester City Council for comment.