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Could Bath be the first place in the country to tax tourists to stay?

Photo: ITV News

Bath could become the first city in the country to charge overnight visitors a 'tourist tax' on top of their hotel or bed & breakfast bill.

The idea has been put forward as a way to help boost council finances - as they try to make £37 million of savings over the next 5 years.

But B&B owners have told ITV News the move would be terrible for business.

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Even on a grey and rainy day, Bath still attracts visitors from far and wide and it's this popularity which the the council says could help ease financial pressures.

9000
number of overnight guests the city hosts every year
Credit: ITV News

The fear of some business owners in the city is that it'll put off visitors.

Robert Briers runs a guest house. He says a tourist tax would see visitor numbers fall.

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I don't personally think its going to work. We pay enough tax as it is. Essentially we feel like we're going to have to absorb that cost anyway, even if you can put it separately on the bill.

We feel like we'd have to absorb that tax. Bath as it is is an expensive city to visit and we don't want to be adding extra prices for no reason.

– Robert Briers

Bath could be the first city in the country to introduce the tax so even the experts are unsure as to what the impact could be.

I guess Bath along with York and Edinburgh is one of the few places in the UK that could get away with a tourist tax. As someone who has to pay it a lot on the continent, they can be very annoying.

In some places, they're so high that they can be a deterrent or they can be so low you think why are they bothering just to raise a few Euros. The problem for Bath would be that even if 2 percent are deterred that could actually cause more damage than the gain from the tax in the first place.

– Simon Calder, Travel expert
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The city's council told us they had begun discussing the move with the Government but that implementing a tax would need a change in legislation on a national level.

The said that should the idea be taken forward, they would consult with local people and business owners.

But for now, visitors to the city only have the weather to contend with.

Credit: ITV News