Tourist tax suggested to protect Cambridge

When most of Britain is trying to encourage tourism, one of the most popular cities has said they have to many visitors.


Cambridge is so worried about too many tourists that it is considering taxing them to protect the historic town from over crowding.


The former Mayor said his ideas to limit budget hotels so that visitors couldn’t come for mini breaks, and introduce an obligatory Cambridge Pass for tourists to buy, were ‘draconian’, but claims they are necessary.


Cllr John Hipkin wants to turn Cambridge into a high-quality heritage and culture place and thinks tourists should be subsidising public services in the city.


He has said that tourists ‘take-over’ parts of the city, and residents no longer go there. For example Quayside and King’s Parade are said to be ‘off-limits’ for locals.


Cllr Hipkin said: ‘Some will consider these suggested measures to control tourism draconian and so they may be but, without strong policies to stabilise or reduce tourist numbers, the character of the city and its amenities, especially in the peak season, will continue to deteriorate.


‘We need a new vision of Cambridge as a tourist destination and all those who care for the city must unite to ensure that it is realised.


‘The vision is of a high calibre, long-stay heritage and culture city at the hub of connections to nearby sites of historic and natural interest.


‘Casual short-stay tourism should be discouraged.’


Cllr John Hipkin has cautioned that the city is becoming overloaded with tourists, with four million visiting every year.


But Diane Thompson, general manager of the Royal Cambridge Hotel, said attracting a range of tourists was what keeps the cities economy going.


She said: ‘I don’t think we can turn on one tap and switch off another because it doesn’t work like that.’