The thought of introducing a so-called ‘tourist tax’ to help fund public services in north Norfolk has prompted a backlash from the local MP.

Duncan Baker said such a tax would only harm the local economy. 

But North Norfolk District Council leader, councillor Tim Adams, said the authority merely planned to explore the idea as part of its four-year corporate plan.

North Norfolk News: Sheringham beach, one of north Norfolk's many popular tourist drawcardsSheringham beach, one of north Norfolk's many popular tourist drawcards (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Baker said: “Tourism to our area is the lifeblood of our economy, responsible for over £500m of spend and thousands of jobs. 

“As we recover from the pandemic, we expect to see some 10 million visitors return to our district annually which enables our businesses to thrive. 

“The idea has been considered in cities such as Oxford, Bath and Hull in recent years, but people opted against it.”

North Norfolk News: North Norfolk MP Duncan BakerNorth Norfolk MP Duncan Baker (Image: Supplied)

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Mr Baker said that while cities including Venice, Barcelona and Valencia had brought in such a tax, he was not aware of any English district council introducing one. 

He said: “The impact on our businesses could be severe.”

Mr Adams said that while the details of a tourist tax had not been thought out, he would not want it to penalise small businesses such as restaurants and food outlets. 

He said he imagined it could be a levy of £1 which holiday lets and Airbnbs could be asked to pay per night they had guests. 

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North Norfolk News: NNDC leader Tim AdamsNNDC leader Tim Adams (Image: NNDC)

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Mr Adams said: “We are struggling to deal with the visitor impacts and needs.

"Whilst it is the mainstay of the economy, we have to look after the assets and services which contribute to that for this to continue. 

"So, a small levy may help, but we're a long way from committing to anything. I too have mixed feelings and will want these issues thoroughly considered.”