Could Sheffield introduce a ‘tourism tax’?

The debate around tourism tax – and who should charge it – could gain more attention in Sheffield and all over the country after Andy Burnham talked about it in a podcast.
Sheffield Town HallSheffield Town Hall
Sheffield Town Hall

The Greater Manchester Mayor said he thought local leaders should be able to charge a tourism tax and argued that it was wrong that British tourists pay tourist taxes when they visit places like Rome, Paris or Amsterdam but that visitors to the UK do not subsidise local services such as street cleaning.

Last week, Mr Burnham told i News’ Labour’s Plan For Power podcast: “Is there a case for going further? For sure.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I personally don’t think that a tourist tax should be off the table.

“Why should a British tourist pay those taxes when they go to other places?

“Why shouldn’t a city region like ours, which receives a considerable number of visitors come and see music, football … why shouldn’t we?

“I’m not saying we would rush to do it, but there’s a case for it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“In fact, our hotels have done it voluntarily to raise money to put it into I think more street cleansing and those things.

“So there’s a case for it.”

Sheffield City Council have recently launched their five-year Destination Management Plan (2023-2028) to grow the visitor economy in Sheffield so we asked Sheffield City Council whether there was support for a tourism tax from town hall.

In the paper, the authors stated that in 2019, there were an estimated 18 million visitors to Sheffield who spent £1.36 bn and this supported over 15,000 Full Time Job equivalents (FTEs).

However, their 2022 levels remained slightly below this.

They added that by the end of 2023, with three new hotels due on stream, Sheffield will have over 3,500 hotel bedrooms in the city. In addition, in 2022 it is estimated that the city had a monthly average of just over 1,000 Airbnb lets comprising 680 whole units and 329 private rooms.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Cllr Martin Smith, Chair of the Economic Development and Skills Committee, Sheffield City Council, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The national discussions around tourism levies are complex.

“Bringing the UK in line with the rest of Europe and countries like America, is worth further research to understand the impact on the UK visitor economy, however, mechanisms like this need city-wide partnerships in place with hotels and the hospitality sector.

“We have recently launched our Destination Management Plan, which details our plans and aspirations to grow the visitor economy in Sheffield. We will be exploring a range of different mechanisms in order to help us do this.

“We are always looking to learn lessons from elsewhere and will be looking at the pros and cons of what other cities are supporting to find innovative solutions for growing the numbers of visitors we see in Sheffield.”