GTMC concerned 'tourist tax' could impact business travellers

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The Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) has suggested proposals for a possible tax for hotel stays in London would be a "real concern" for business travellers. 

If leading Labour MP Dame Tessa Jowell wins the battle to become the capital's next mayor, the one per cent so-called tourist tax could become a reality. 

Ms Jowell came out in support of the levy, stating that it could raise as much as £50 million per year for London. 

Proponents state that it would go towards providing cultural and leisure activities for the capital's children, and could also be used to pay for free concerts and big events such as the New Year's Eve fireworks. 

GTMC chief executive Paul Wait said the tax risked making it harder for people to do business in London, which would prove harmful to the country's economy as a whole. 

He said the guild was disappointed there was support for the levy and that while it may be beneficial for the capital, it could have a negative impact elsewhere. 

"The GTMC is concerned that prominent London politicians have expressed support for the hotel tax without consultation with the business travel community," he said. 

Mr Wait warned that while the tax would initially start out at one per cent per bed per night, the GTMC fears it "would set a precedent" and rates would rise further in the future.

Not only would it have a negative impact on those visiting from abroad, but also on business travellers coming from other parts of the UK, he said.

He went on to suggest that because there is no way to distinguish between tourists and business travellers, those staying at hotels in the capital for work could be unfairly penalised.

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