Dorset resident Maris Lake has proposed a tax on tourists as he believes they are responsible for littering the local beaches around Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. He started a petition on Change.org earlier this week calling for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council to introduce a tax on tourists.
He wrote: “Every year – especially after the Covid lockdown – BCP’s sandy beaches are getting more and more trashed.
“This is done mostly by outside travellers who travel long hours from far away to spend a day or two on our most beautiful beaches.
“I am calling on BCP council to introduce a tourism tax to anyone who enters the BCP area and isn’t local nor has any connections to the area (family, relatives, etc).
“This would be in place during the summer season and at a certain distance from the seafront.”
The petition has gained over 400 signatures and Mr Lake suggested that the money made from the tax could be put towards “much-needed BCP improvements”, including cleaning the beaches.
However, local Conservative councillor Beverley Dunlop said the maintenance of the beach comes at “no cost to local taxpayers”.
She said: “All our leisure, culture, events and festivals, are paid for by seafront income, which also generates millions of pounds back into the support of other services.
“‘Taxing’ visitors would be an extraordinary move for a UK destination, highly impractical, invasive and would actively deter visitors, putting all the benefits they bring to our area at risk. Visitors and local people all have a part to play in respecting our seafront.
“We welcome everyone who appreciates the beauty and vibrancy of the BCP area. We encourage those visitors to stay in our hotels and enjoy our seafront and towns anytime.”
Many Britons are choosing to holiday in the UK following the pandemic, and some residents in Devon have expressed disappointment towards the loss of the county’s coastline.
Suzy Bennett said she moved from London to Devon 14 years ago to enjoy the county’s “raw, wild countryside”.
Writing in The Telegraph she said: “No longer is it a place you pass through on the way to Cornwall, but a destination in its own right.
“Single-track roads are clogged with cars and tourist coaches. The countryside and coastline are being eaten up by huge caravan parks.
“And there’s a chronic housing shortage, partly because homeowners are renting their properties to the lucrative holiday let market, rather than local people.”
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