Is a bed tax the answer to Byron Bay's influx of summer tourists?

Angie Takanami

Coming back into the TotalTravel office this week after a two-day break over New Year’s was a shock to the system. Not because of the fact I was coming back to work – I love my job. No, the shock was on the streets, in the gutters, and sadly, strewn around our beloved pristine beaches. Rubbish - littered everywhere - remnants of the influx of tourists who had flocked to our beaches to bring in the New Year. It was, in a word, disgusting.

Credit: Jack Van Delft/Facebook

It is hard enough to find a park in town just to come to the office during the summer break, let alone trying to brave the supermarket or even try and get a spot down on the beach at The Pass to frolic in the crystal clear waters with the kids. I will spare you my rant about the swollen population of surfers (many whom cannot surf) flapping around in the water, raging at each other for “dropping in.”

The rubbish problem stretches further than Byron Bay’s central Main Beach, with campsites in neighboring Suffolk Park and Ewingsdale similarly suffering off the end of the mass number of tourists who descended the shire last week. Surely the culprits are coming back to clean up?

Byron Bay at midday today

It seems the issue has infuriated Local Government Minister (and Byron Bay resident), Don Page, who thinks a bed tax should be considered to allow tourism centres to pay for infrastructure and services straining from the influx of holiday tourists.

“The reality is that the infrastructure can’t cope and the question is: ‘What do we do about it? A bed tax is definitely an option,” Mr Page told ABC radio yesterday.

The controversial proposal for a bed tax has been rejected in the past, and would surely meet opposition from the Byron Bay accommodation industry.

Surely something needs to be done.

Do you think the bed tax proposal is the answer?