Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association said: ”The BHA urges the Mayor to stop the madness of introducing a tourism levy. Gouging tourists does not fit with the idea that London is open for business. A tourism levy will harm already hard-press London hospitality businesses and discourage guests from staying overnight and reduce the amount they spend in the wider London economy.
Tourists in the UK already pay the most tax in Europe and the World Economic Forum currently ranks the UK 140 out of 141 countries in terms of tourism tax competitiveness. The UK’s rate of Tourism VAT is already twice the European average and, although some European countries have local tourism taxes, they all enjoy a lower rate of Tourism VAT so that any negative impact is offset.
The announcement is also extremely worrying as it provides sharing platforms, such as Airbnb, with an even greater advantage over hotels in the capital as visitors not only do not have to pay VAT on the cost of their stay but also would not have to pay his proposed tourism levy."