Wicked Westminster

By | Category: Travel news, Travel rumblings

You’d think Westminster would want to encourage people to visit the capital during the 2012 Olympics (and help boost Britain’s economy), but the evidence suggests otherwise.

Come the New Year, Westminster council will be banning parking on single yellow lines from 6.30pm until midnight Monday to Saturday and 1pm-6pm on Sundays. Parking at those times will cost an eye watering £4.80 an hour and will surely only serve to drive away trade from local restaurants and retailers?

But that’s not all. The cash strapped council is considering slapping a bed tax on West End hotels. The idea is that adding a five percent charge to hotel bills, will ensure tourists contribute to the costs of keeping Westminster clean. If that is, the tourists still come.

Because, given that Mayor Boris Johnson looks likely to bow to a demand for a 20 per cent Olympics taxi surcharge to compensate for loss of business, they’d be forgiven for deciding to stay away.

When the riots occurred earlier this year, there was fear that the looting in London could seriously damage tourist numbers to London. Not so, says CD-Traveller. People won’t be deterred from visiting the capital because 12 months earlier, shop windows were smashed in Clapham, Acton et al. Rather, it’s the proposed price hikes that will put people off visiting and thereby damage tourism. As Topshop boss, Sir Philip Green, commented only last week, at this rate it can only be a matter of time before we are charged for “walking on the pavement.”

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