Tourism and Bed Numbers
A few days ago I blogged about the latest ‘idea’ from certain quarters of Cornwall Council about a Tourist Tax, or Bed Tax. I said this was nothing more that a tourist poll tax and would be hard to administer, and more than likely cost a small fortune to run.
Figures of £25 million in additional revenue have been quoted from within the Council. It does seem a lot of this money could be used for the benefit of the whole of Cornwall. So I decided to do more research on this to see if the numbers stacked up.
Using the latest data base there are currently 225,692 beds in Cornwall and they are split into the following categories and bed numbers.
- Agency – 3984
- Bed & Breakfast – 4448
- Campus – 839
- Farmhouse -590
- Guest House – 5062
- Holiday Park – 53766
- Hostel – 1185
- Hotel -17239
- Inn -1422
- Self Catering – 81535
- Camping and Caravanning – 55622
We all know that the occupancy of beds is not year round, and some categories will do better at certain times of the year. I have worked out that the £25 million will come from an average occupancy of 110 days or 30% though-out the year.
The trouble with the whole concept of a tourism tax is how you administer and collect the money. Will the owners of the establishments have to keep a record of each night someone stays in a separate ledger and if requested have to submit these documents to Cornwall Council to be checked? What happens if you don’t pay? What mechanism would be in place to collect the outstanding amount? It will be bad enough trying to collect it, let alone chase up non-payers.
I have said before about the message this sends out to tourists. It is a very bad image for Cornwall if the tax will be seen as another way of fleecing visitors. It is not the right message to send out because holidaying in the UK is not always the cheapest compared with a lot of other European destinations.
Whilst it may be seen as a way to improve the infrastructure of Cornwall without loading it onto the Cornish tax payers but, I truly believe this whole concept is fraught with a lot of problems and issues. Instead of hearing about how much money could be raised, it would have been far better to be told the details and how it would be administered before it all went public.