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These UK seaside towns will become the first in the UK to introduce tourist tax

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Three popular seaside resorts in southern England are set to the be first destinations in the UK to introduce a ‘tourist tax’ for visitors.

As part of the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s Accommodation Business Improvement District (ABID), those staying overnight in the Dorset holiday hotspotswill be charged £2 per room or unit, per night from 1 July – just ahead of the school summer holidays.

The model for this levy mirrors those being rolled out across Europe and the US, and it follows a successful consultation period in which 16 out of 31 local businesses voted in favour of the scheme.

Bournemouth is one of three towns where the overnight tax will apply
Bournemouth is one of three towns where the overnight tax will apply (PA Wire)

Read more: Tourism taxes around the world – how high do they go?

The tourist tax is being introduced to help enhance tourism and officials estimate it will generate £12m in the next five years.

ABID said it would “safeguard the local economy” by generating money to attract more visitors to the county.

Andy Lennox, destination management board chair, called the move a “historic moment for the towns,” while councillor Vikki Slade, leader of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council said: “We are excited at the prospect of working alongside them to deliver a more productive and resilient visitor economy and destination management.”

Key calendar events expected to be supported by the tourist tax include Bournemouth Air Festival, Arts by the Sea, Poole Christmas Maritime and Christmas Tree Wonderland.

Thecouncil has previously revealed cost-cutting measures, including an end to subsidies for the resort’s annual air festival after 2024, as well as stopping financial support for entries to the Blue Flag beach award scheme.

Rosie Radwell, Marsham Court Hotel managing director and chair of the shadow ABID board, believes that the tourist tax is “good news for the destination”, and said “we are thrilled that the accommodation providers have voted in favour of the ABID”.

She added: “The additional funds raised will have a huge impact on the future of tourism in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. On behalf of the volunteer shadow ABID board, I would like to thank our fellow accommodation providers for recognising the power of partnership working and the necessity to act now.

“We are excited about the future and have already started to plan projects and events to enhance tourism in the area”.

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