If you plan on visiting England’s third-largest city, your stay just got a bit more expensive.
As of April 1, 2023, visitors to Manchester, England, must now pay a City Visitor Charge. It’s the first city in the United Kingdom to levy a tourist tax on visitors.
The new fee will see an extra £1 (roughly US$1.23) added to hotel and accommodation rentals within the city center per night, per room, and will be billed to guests at the end of their stay. The local government will then collect the money directly from the hotels.
According to the Manchester Evening News, the funds will be used to “help boost the tourist economy through the running of large events, conferences, festivals, marketing campaigns and also towards street cleanliness in the city.”
The city estimates the funds will earn the Accommodation Business Improvement District (BID), the new organization formed to manage the money, roughly £3 million each year. Local hoteliers voted on the fee in a 2022 referendum.
While Manchester is the first city in the United Kingdom to roll out such a program, tourist taxes are not a new concept elsewhere in the world. In the United States, cities like New York and Atlanta charge hotel unit fees ($1.50 and $5 per night, respectively), and San Francisco hotels charge a Transient Occupancy Tax (which amounts to an additional 12 percent of the nightly rate of the stay). Several larger cities in Europe charge a nightly rate for visitors, either a flat fee (Amsterdam collects €3 per night and Venice charges €6 nightly) or a rate that is commensurate with the rating of the hotel or guesthouse (as is the case in Barcelona and Rome). In Rome, for example, charges range from €3 per night for more modest accommodations to €7 for five-star properties.
Typically, these government-collected fees are used for anything from establishing green initiatives to making the city more livable for locals to building up tourism infrastructure.
Other communities in the United Kingdom are also considering adding their own tourist taxes. Edinburgh is waiting on approval from the Scottish parliament to enact a £2-a-night tax, and the Welsh government is currently weighing what an appropriate sum might be (there’s no word yet on when exactly it will have a decision).