HOLIDAYMAKERS have been warned they could be CHARGED for visiting a popular beach under a plan from disgruntled locals.

Residents in Dorset want to introduce a "tourist tax" after beaches were left "trashed" by reckless visitors this summer.

Local Maris Lake has launched a petition calling for a tax to be introduced on anyone entering a set zone in the Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole council area.

Only locals or those with family in the area would be exempt from the tax – which he hopes will span across the summer months.

He claims visitors "abuse" the beaches because they are free and hopes a tax would "shift their mentality", the Bournemouth Echo reports.

In his petition, Maris writes: "Every year – especially after the Covid lockdown – BPC’s sandy beaches are getting more and more trashed.

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"This is done mostly by outside travellers who travel long hours from far away to spend a day or two in our most beautiful beaches.

"I am calling on BCP council to introduce a tourism tax to anyone who enters the BCP area and isn’t local nor has any connections to the area (family, relatives, etc).

"This would be in place during the summer season and on a certain distance from the sea front.

"It can be easily done by a number plate recognition system, and permits could be managed online and granted for family members who are coming to visit or something along those lines."

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"Money raised from this tourism tax could be used for much needed BCP improvements.

"This would limit tourism – not prevent it completely – but most importantly it would reduce the amount of money spent cleaning the beaches each weekend during seasonal time."

Maris' tax idea – which only has a few signatures so far – is commonly used abroad in countries including Spain, Portugal, France and Greece.

Some local councillors feel the tax "is worth considering".

But not everyone has backed Maris' idea.

Cllr Beverley Dunlop said: "Keeping our beaches in tip-top condition is an investment at no cost to local taxpayers.

|"All our leisure, culture, events and festivals, are paid for by seafront income, which also generates millions of pounds back into the support of other services.

"’Taxing’ visitors would be an extraordinary move for a UK destination, highly impractical, invasive and would actively deter visitors, putting all the benefits they bring to our area at risk.

"Visitors and local people all have a part to play in respecting our seafront.

"We welcome everyone who appreciates the beauty and vibrancy of the BCP area.

"We encourage those visitors to stay in our hotels and enjoy our seafront and towns anytime."

It was earlier revealed that Brits heading to Wales for a staycation this year could be forced to pay a tourism tax under new plans.

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The country is looking to introduce the levy for all overnight visitors to help pay for local services.

And The Sun broke down all holiday destinations where Brits have to pay tourist tax to visit in 2022.

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