HOTELIERS have joined forces to rally against the introduction of tourist tax.

An appeal against the introduction of tourist tax in BCP is now being considered by the Secretary of State.

This appeal, supported by 42 local hotels, comes after the tax was approved by just one vote in May.

With 75 hotels in the area involved in the vote, a 56% majority of the hotels have joined together in a bid to get the ballot result declared void.

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A spokesperson for the group leading the appeal said: “Following the announcement on May 14 that the Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole Accommodation BID had successfully passed by a single vote, it quickly became clear that a significant number of hotels had not been able to vote and some of these were not even aware that the ballot was taking place. 

"If any one of these hotels had been able to vote, the levy simply wouldn’t have been voted in.

“The levy appears to us to have been rushed through with very little consultation from either the ABID team or the council.

“It has become abundantly clear that there isn’t widespread support for this initiative amongst our hotel community.

“Only 16 hoteliers voted in favour of the introduction of a levy and of these 16, only two were not part of the ABID Board who formulated the levy. In just four weeks, we have identified a staggering 42 hotels that do not support the levy.”

Several hoteliers say they have contacted BCP Council after the ballot was announced, ‘highlighting issues with the ballot’ asking the council to declare the ballot void. They said BCP Council declined these requests.

Members from the group leading the appeal met with BCP Council last week to ask for the proposed start date of July 1 to be delayed until after the appeal process has been completed. However, the ABID team is insisting the levy will apply from July 1.

The spokesperson added: “Hoteliers are now in an impossible position where we are being told to collect the levy from customers next week when the appeal process is ongoing.

“The ABID Board has said that even if the appeal succeeds, the money raised from guest Levy's payments does not need to be refunded.

“We feel that this would be both morally and legally incorrect.”

A spokesperson for ABID said: "Yes, we are aware of the appeal to the Secretary of State following the unsuccessful appeal locally.

"All appropriate processes have been followed, and everyone has been informed properly - as confirmed by BCP Council in response to this group's local complaint.

"The ABID has been planned for months. The levy starts on July 1.

"We urge everyone to get behind the ABID as we try to make our three towns a better place for all."

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council Chief executive Graham Farrant said: “We are confident the ballot process has been carried out fairly and in line with legal regulations.

“We advised those who are looking to appeal the result to follow the process as outlined in The Business Improvement Districts (England) Regulations 2004.

“Anyone wishing to find out more about how the ABID works, please contact them at The ABID Area | Bournemouth | Christchurch | Poole Accommodation BID (

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