DO DROP IN: A bed tax is a step closer to raising funds from the estimated 1.5 million tourists to Byron each year.
DO DROP IN: A bed tax is a step closer to raising funds from the estimated 1.5 million tourists to Byron each year. David Nielsen

An inhospitable tax on Byron Bay visitors?

WHILE previous Byron Shire councils have unsuccessfully debated the merits of introducing a bed tax to raise funds from the estimated 1.5 million tourists to Byron each year, this week may mark an historic move closer to such a scheme.

On Thursday the council will consider a proposal from Mayor Simon Richardson to trial a voluntary visitor contribution scheme this holiday season, concluding at Easter, to raise funds from visitors.

The voluntary visitor contribution scheme is on the agenda at the council's ordinary meeting and, if passed, will be trialled through the council-owned caravan parks.

"It's a common myth that the council receives a sizable financial benefit from the millions of tourists that visit Byron Bay," Cr Richardson states in his background notes to the council.

"In fact, aside from the heightened business rates, it receives nothing," he said.

The scheme would encourage visitors to donate $2 a booking and would be pooled into a Beautify Byron Fund, Cr Richardson said.

If successful, businesses within Byron Bay would be encouraged to take part in the voluntary scheme, including being part of a governing body to oversee the fund.


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