Make our tourist pay towards city upkeep?

Bath shares with Venice the honour of being one of the only two European cities to enjoy World Heritage status and be in a position to reap the tourist benefits of that UNESCO-given accolade.

roman baths
The Great Bath – part of the Roman bathing complex built around the thermal waters.

However, unlike Venice – and every other Italian city – it does not benefit from a tourist tax.

The ‘Queen of the Adriatic’ charges a rate according to how many stars the hotel you are staying in has. A fair way of making the rich pay slightly more.

In the grand scheme of things – when major expenses like flights meals and car hire have been taken into account – a couple of extra pounds on your hotel won’t create many ripples in the Lagoon.

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We may not have gondolas but we do have river trips and enough Roman archaeology and Georgian architecture to keep our visitors happy – without the fear of falling into a canal.

The Roman Baths makes money and helps keep our rates down but surely we should be looking at other ways of funding the expense of maintaining and improving our ‘heritage bank’ of tourist-attracting goodies.

busking abbey churchyard
Abbey Church Yard is a popular place and a good spot for buskers.

I thought a Tourist Tax was being talked about already? Things have gone rather quiet. Maybe the Council’s backroom boys and girls are even now beavering away on just such a project!

Think – if it came into being – we’d be the first city in the country to introduce it. I may be wrong.

While we are on the subject of heritage and money.  B&NES is still littered with quaint little buildings that started life as toll houses.

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This corner building used to be a toll house on the London Road.

It’s where you paid the Turnpike Trust to be able to use the privately-funded fine specimen of a road that stretched in front of your horse-drawn carriage.

Some may feel its time to make all those cars and lorries  –  which daily choke our city streets and pollute the air we breathe – pay for the damage they inflict with a Congestion Charge.

What do you all think?