Your next Airbnb accommodation in Bath might soon require you to pay an extra fee for taxes, under a new proposal from the Bath and North East Somerset Council.
Despite the proposed taxes, a spa break in Bath can still be a good idea for a vacation. The city might be included in UNESCO’s Great Spas of Europe, which comprises 11 spa destinations.
New Taxation Policy
The city has floated a new tax scheme as a new way of raising funds. Officials said that there are no other means of doing so apart from relying on council rates and business funds. The council has sought a tourism levy that has been in practice in many European cities.
It follows a similar request from Edinburgh, Oxford, and Liverpool. Aside from a tourism tax and levies on short-term Airbnb stays, the council also seeks to charge fees for listed building applications. One of the reasons behind the proposal involves student accommodation properties, which have caused £5 million in revenue losses because they are exempt from taxes.
Bath might need the additional revenue from taxes to preserve its natural resources, which allowed it to be listed as a World Heritage site. If granted, the city would join Bruges in Belgium and Barcelona in Spain as the few cities with double-listings from UNESCO.
UNESCO says that Bath has been a popular healing place for more than 2,000 years. The city preserves its intricate architecture and natural spas, which are among a few of their kind. The majority of spas in Europe failed to survive after the mid-19th century.
Whether or not Bath’s new tax becomes law, it won’t dampen tourism activity in the city, especially with the anticipated double-listing from UNESCO.