A 'tourist tax' will be introduced across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole for the first time next month.

Here’s everything you need to know about the move which has been described as an “historic moment” for the three towns.

What is happening?

A visitor charge of around £2 per night per room to those staying in hotels overnight will come into effect from July 1, 2024. 

It is not charged per person.

Is it just in Bournemouth?

The charge will apply across the whole conurbation – Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

An aerial view of Christchurch. Picture: Stephen BathAn aerial view of Christchurch. Picture: Stephen Bath (Image: Stephen Bath)

Who decided the levy should be introduced?

The decision comes after a successful consultation held by the Accommodation BID (Business Improvement District) which is independent from BCP Council.

Following the consultation, 31 hoteliers in the industry voted on the proposal, with 16 voting in favour.

The levy is not administered by BCP Council, it is collected by BCP Council on behalf of the ABID.

The charge will apply across the whole of BCP including Poole. Picture: Stephen Bath

Where else has a visitor charge?

Europe and the USA already operate visitor charges so BCP will mirror what is already in place overseas.

Meanwhile, in the UK, Liverpool and Manchester have them in place.

However, BCP will become the first coastal resort to introduce the levy.

I’m only visiting BCP for the day – will I have to pay?

The charge does not apply to day-trippers, residents or those visiting the beach.

Why is it needed?

It is believed the move could generate more than £12 million over five years and will go towards improving the BCP area. 

Andy Lennox, Destination Management Board chair, said: “The ABID levy will help improve the towns visitor experience and enhance the look and feel the of the three towns.”

Funds will also help sustain and develop large-scale events such as the Air Festival, Arts by the Sea, Poole Christmas Maritime and Christmas Tree Wonderland.

As previously reported, BCP Council said it is unable to continue funding the air festival after 2024 and has urged businesses to be involved in sponsoring the event to secure its future. 

What is the ABID?

The ABID board is an independent board made up of a majority of accommodation providers from a cross section of accommodation sectors, alongside key stakeholders from across the conurbation.

Mr Lennox added: “This is a moment for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole to come out of the shadows from years of chronic underfunding and make this the best destination in the UK to visit as a safe, secure, vibrant, eventful and successful tourist destination.”