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Manchester becomes first UK city to charge tourists to visit

Manchester becomes first UK city to charge tourists to visit

It is hoped the scheme will raise millions, which will be spent on 'improving the visitor experience'

Manchester has become the first city in the UK to charge tourists for visiting.

The tourist tax - termed the 'city visitor charge' - aims to raise millions of pounds, which will then be spent on 'improving the visitor experience'.

The move follows in the footsteps of European cities such as Venice and Barcelona.

The city is the first in the UK to introduce such a charge.
Jon Super / Alamy Stock Photo

The tax will apply from 1 April, with visitors staying in city centre hotels charged £1 per night, per room.

It is hoped the scheme will rake in £3 million per year, which will go towards the new Manchester Accommodation Business Improvement District (ABID), which aims to 'support future growth of the visitor economy' over the next five years.

The Manchester ABID website explains: "The Manchester Accommodation BID is a ground-breaking new initiative led by the city's hotel and serviced apartment providers to help create new events and additional activities that will attract more people to visit and stay in Manchester and Salford.

"It will also contribute to the enhancement of overall guest experience and help to expand the city’s visitor economy by:

  • amplifying marketing campaigns that drive overnight stays;
  • securing large-scale events, conferences, and festivals in low-season months;
  • improving guest welcome and street cleanliness.

"The above activities will be funded by the City Visitor Charge; a supplementary £1 Charge per room/unit per night* for guests, added to the final accommodation bill.

"The statutory Charge will be collected from all paid accommodation establishments that fall into the Manchester Accommodation BID zone and will be applicable to all bookings from 1 April 2023."

Annie Brown, the chair of ABID, said the charge would benefit the city and visitors.

It's hoped it will raise millions for the city.
John B Hewitt / Alamy Stock Photo

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, she said: "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."

She continued: "I think it's widely known we have an ever-increasing number of hotels opening, so it’s ever-more-important that we’re self-sustaining that growth and make it the place to come.

"There's a number of ways of doing that, and the biggest two are around city events in 'shoulder periods' — i.e. lower periods in the calendar — and attracting big events to the city.

"It might be large sporting, music, or conference events. We're aware that we're not just bidding against other UK cities, but other large cities around the world."

And while Annie is actually an Aussie, Manchester has clearly won her heart, and she wants visitors to come and see what the fuss is all about.

"Ultimately, even though I'm not from Manchester, I feel so passionately about Manchester, what better thing is there to be involved in — bringing Manchester to the world," she said.

"It's my favourite city I've worked in, in the UK, because it's such an exciting, dynamic and vibrant city, that it's great from a work and leisure perspective.

"Manchester has so much choice on every level, there's never been a better time to visit us."

LADbible has contacted Manchester City Council for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: UK News, Travel, Money