At the weekend I booked hotels for my forthcoming trip to France, I was irked by the fact that there’s a charge of 1 Euro City Tax per night per guest in both the Marseille and Nice hotels.
Now France is not alone in charging this tax, also known as a Tourist Tax and Bed Tax.Thank goodness that we don’t have this pesky tax in the UK.
In my opinion, if visitors are staying in a city, they are already bringing money into the local economy. They pay various taxes, similar to the British Value Added Tax (VAT) which is charged at 20% on hotel stays and meals in restaurants. Why on earth should visitors have to pay an additional City Tax?
What about all the jobs for locals supported by the tourism industry and the tax paid on employees wages and profits from businesses benefiting from the tourist spend?
The justification for this charge is usually that it pays to promote the city and for the upkeep of tourist attractions. Well the latter is a joke, as you already have to pay to visit most tourist attractions.
To me, it reeks of ‘fleece the tourist’. It’s politically expedient to charge visitors a tax rather than ask local residents to pay higher local taxes. Imagine how many million of Euro even 1 Euro a night per guest in a popular city such as Paris could net per annum.
What I’d really like to know is if all the money collected through the City Tax is earmarked for the tourism related projects? It must be so tempting to use the City Tax revenue to plug a hole in local government expenditure unrelated to tourism.
In many ways, I’d rather have the City Tax already included in the hotel price I pay, so that it wouldn’t annoy me so much. Why couldn’t the hotel just add the City Tax to the price per room? Surely that would be easier for administration and avoid annoying visitors when the payment of tax is requested by the staff working at hotel reception.