Dublin City Council plans bid to charge tourists new visitor levy

Dublin City Council plans bid to charge tourists new visitor levy

Dublin City Council is set to launch a fresh bid to charge a hotel bed tax or visitor levy on tourists to the capital.

The council intends to begin a consultation with stakeholders including Fáilte Ireland and accommodation providers about the possibility of introducing some form of visitor levy to raise funds for the city’s authorities.

Any new tax on tourists would need legislation to be passed by the Oireachtas.

The introduction of a tourist tax or visitor levy is included in the work programme of the council’s finance strategic policy committee. It said its previous requests to the Government to bring in a form of tourist tax had proven unsuccessful.

Its head of finance, Kathy Quinn, pointed out that tourism makes an important contribution to Dublin's economy with almost six million overseas visitors spending €2bn in 2017.

In addition around 1.8m domestic visitors from the Republic and Northern Ireland contributed another €434m to businesses in the city.

The council argues that further growth in tourism to Dublin will require additional resources to support sustainable future investment as well as to manage the impact of Dublin’s success as a tourism destination on the city and its residents.

"Tourism allows for the enjoyment of local amenities by visitors who do not contribute to the costs of services for those amenities,” said Ms Quinn.

She claimed there was an “accepted rationale” for imposing a tax on visitors to reflect the cost of providing tourism-related services such as additional street cleaning, maintenance, investment in public facilities, staging of public events and the management of cultural and historic sites.

Ms Quinn acknowledged that the Irish Hotels Federation has in the past expressed concern about the potential negative impact which the introduction of a visitor levy could have on tourist numbers to Dublin and consequent job losses in the sector as well as the administrative burden of collecting any taxes.

She claimed the introduction of a visitor levy would need to ensure that any charge was reasonable.

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