Tourists, industry back proposed Byron pseudo-bed tax
TOURISTS at Byron Bay have reacted well to a pseudo "bed tax" proposal by Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson, which asks for donations from the estimated 1.8 million visitors to the shire each year.
Local tourism leaders have also tentatively described the plan to trial a voluntary visitor contribution of $2 per accommodation booking as a "positive" move.
The plan, to be voted on at today's ordinary council meeting, would be first trialled at the council-owned First Sun and Suffolk Park caravan parks this summer, with money to be pooled in a Beautify Byron Fund.
Visiting German tourist Renate Ziegler told The Northern Star she would happily pay the $2 contribution.
"In Germany we are used to paying a tax to visit tourist places," she said.
"As long as it was a one-off fee, and not every day."
Byron Bay Visitor Centre manager and VIA Byron board member John Gudgeon yesterday said he had "no problem" with the initiative, as long as it was voluntary and there was transparency with how the funds would be spent.
"It's a positive thing that council is looking at beautifying Byron Bay," Mr Gudgeon said.
"I have no problem with them asking people to make a voluntary contribution towards that, as long as there is no feeling of obligation or pressure and as long as the funds are managed in a way that is open and transparent."
Grant Hawkins, partner at Byron Bay Accomm, which is one of the town's leading booking agents, also described the plan as a "creative and positive initiative".
"I'm not opposed to the idea, and it will be interesting to see how the trial goes," Mr Hawkins said.