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Tourist tax for Brighton and Hove could generate millions
A tourist tax on visitors to Brighton and Hove could see millions of pounds pumped back into the city.
Residents and business leaders have urged councillors to look into the possibility of charging tourists £1 for every night they stay in hotels and guesthouses.
The money would be ringfenced for resident priorities, such as security in the city centre and cleaning the streets.
The new Green cabinet has said they would investigate the creation of a tourist tax if there was support for it.
There are approximately 1.5 million overnight visitors to Brighton and Hove every year.
Roger Rolfe, who has advised Brighton and Hove City Council on licensing matters and represented the Kingscliffe Society at national conferences on the night time economy, said: “A tourist tax could do an enormous amount of good and really wouldn’t be a problem to implement.
“As long as it’s less than the price of a pint I don’t think you are going to deter any of the hen and stag parties. A couple of quid on top of your holiday really isn’t going to make you reconsider your destination.”
Mr Rolfe said the money could be put to a variety of uses, including litter patrols, cleaning and repairs to pavements and signs warning people to keep quiet in residential areas.
Cornwall Council announced last week it was looking into the possibility of imposing a tourist tax, which it says would raise £25 million a year.
But critics have warned the move could damage the county’s tourism industry.
In 2009 the eight million visitors to Brighton and Hove spent an estimated £732 million. However in the same year almost a third of people being admitted to the city’s accident and emergency departments were non-residents.
Simon Fanshawe, chairman of the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, said: “ “It has the potential to bring benefits both for tourists and the residents because some of that money could be used to improve infrastructure for tourists and some could go towards easing residents’ concerns, such as policing the city centre on a Saturday night.”
Geoffrey Bowden, Brighton and Hove City Council’s cabinet member for culture, recreation and tourism, said: “The impact of tourists is a fine balance. They bring in a lot of money to our city and we have benefited from our reputation as a destination of choice. What we have to do is to encourage them to behave in a responsible way during their stay.”