Manchester Gains Nearly £3M from ‘Tourist Tax’ Initiative

In a UK first move, Manchester has raised £2.8m by introducing a tourist tax. The money will be spent on marketing and maintenance of the city. 

How Much is the Tourist Tax?

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The tax is better known as the ‘City Visitor Charge’, and it’s a £1 per room, per night fee. It was first introduced in April 2023, with a view to funding and maintaining visitor attractions. 

Money Welcomed By Hospitality Sector

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Kumar Mishra, chair of the The Manchester Accommodation BID, a body representing 74 hotels and accommodation providers said that “the charge had made a positive impact on the accommodation sector.”

Concerns City Developments Were Outstripping Interest

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The body was established to help Manchester remain relevant as a tourist destination. There were concerns in some quarters that developments in the city were outstripping visitor numbers, so the group was established to help market the city.

Hotel Space Increasing

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The Manchester Accommodation BID released data showing there were nearly 13,000 bed spaces in the city center in 2023, up from 10,500 in 2019.

Occupancy Rates Falling

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The data also indicated a slight decline in average occupancy, moving from 81% in 2019 to 78% the previous year. Whilst not a dramatic drop, the group was keen to reverse this trend. 

Development Showing No Signs of Slowing

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Anyone who has spent any time in Manchester over the last decade will have seen the relentless progression of the city. The pace of building work has been frantic, with dozens of large-scale development projects completed.

More Hotel Spaces to Arrive in 2024

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With several more large projects nearing completion, it is predicted close to 6,000 new rooms will become available in the city in the coming year. If occupancy rates are falling, it’s going to pose a challenge to the hospitality sector.

City Visitor Charge Boosting Occupancy During Quiet Times

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Mr Mishra said cash raised from the charge had funded a campaign to boost stays during “traditionally lower occupancy months”.

Manchester Adapting to Compete

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Manchester’s hospitality sector is heavily reliant on events to boost tourist numbers. High profile football matches, music events, Manchester Pride, Chinese New Year all contribute significant visitors to the city.

City Visitor Tax Widely Accepted as Positive

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The fee is sufficiently small enough to not bother visitors, but high enough to contribute a meaningful amount of money to help maintain and promote the city.

Manchester Finding Its Place

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With more historical architecture, the Beatles and the famous waterfront, Liverpool has traditionally been more of a visitor hotspot for Tourists looking for a city break in the North West.

Manchester Enjoying Event Success

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Rather than try to compete with Liverpool for visitors, Manchester has played to its strengths and has become a fantastic venue for large scale music events.

New Live Events Venue Opening

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Later this month, Co-Op Live, the largest indoor event in the UK, will be opening. It’s hoped that a packed schedule of events will help keep hotels full throughout the year.

Sporting Success Key to Hospitality Industry

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The fortunes of the city’s two main football teams, Manchester United and Manchester City also help determine visitor numbers. European football brings thousands of additional overseas visitors to the city every week.

City Visitor Fee Not a New Idea

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A tourist tax isn’t a new invention – there are plenty of places around the world where visitors are charged a fee for the privilege of a stay. Manchester is the first city in the UK to introduce it in this form though.

Tax Could be Replicated Elsewhere

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Other cities will be looking at the scheme and introducing their own version of it. Councils might use it as a way to boost local government coffers when it’s needed most.

Government Funding Cut, Every Little Helps

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At a time when local government funding is being cut, taxes like this can help to keep cities in a good state of repair, and high on the tourist list. If cities are allowed to decline, visitor numbers will certainly drop. 

Economic Boost Across All Industries

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Although the money appears to only help hotels at first glance, the tourists being attracted to cities eat in restaurants, drink in pubs, use taxis, buy gifts etc. Tourism is a huge net gain for cities.

The post Manchester’s ‘Tourist Tax’ Nets Nearly £3M for the City first appeared on Swift Feed.

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