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Devon and Cornwall could soon charge a tourist tax



Tourists – we’ve all been ’em and we’ve all loved to hate ’em. Tourists do great things for local economies but there is such thing as too many of them, leading to problems like pollution and overcrowding. 

Enter: the tourist tax. Loads of countries all over the world have introduced fees for tourists, aiming to combat the impact of overtourism – and some UK destinations have followed suit, including Manchester.

And now a tourist tax is being seriously considered at two of the UK’s best-loved tourist spots: Devon and Cornwall

According to a local committee report, more than four million people holiday in Cornwall each year, with an extra 12 million going there on day trips. 

Malcolm Bell, the big boss at Visit Cornwall, has expressed his support for introducing a tourist tax to the area. He told Cornwall Live: ‘It is a time to have the debate, not rush into action, engage with people and look at the art of the possible.’

He argued that people would be more willing to pay a fee if they knew it would be going into the local economy, rather than back to national government as per normal taxes. He added that there would be ‘no point’ in Cornwall having a tax if its next door neighbour didn’t, so suggested that the two counties introduce a levy together. 

Everything is still in the blue-sky-thinking stage. Cornwall Council recently launched an inquiry aimed at improving the year-round benefits of tourism while supporting locals with well-paid employment and community services. The tourist tax was among the ideas put forward as a solution. 

Tourist tax in the UK 

In March 2023, Manchester became the first city in the UK to launch a tourist tax. You can read all about that hereEdinburgh has been teasing a £2 tax for some time, while Bath and Oxford have also toyed with the idea. And Cambridge could bring in a tourist charge as soon as next year.

Did you see that the UK is officially one of the world’s best road trip destinations?

Plus: These are the UK’s top 10 hotels right now, according to TripAdvisor.

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