Edinburgh could introduce £2 tourist tax after plan wins approval

91% of Edinburgh residents back the tax

Cathy Adams
Wednesday 09 January 2019 17:09
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An £2 Edinburgh tourist tax has garnered strong support in a public consultation.

The Edinburgh City Council today said that it had received more than 2,500 responses over the eight-week consultation as to whether the city should levy a tourist tax, or Transient Visitor Levy.

Figures show that 85 per cent of respondents, which included businesses working in Edinburgh’s tourism industry, supported the tax.

Ninety-one per cent of Edinburgh residents backed the tax.

The proposal is for a charge of either 2 per cent or £2 per room per night, capped at seven nights. The majority of respondents thought this amount fair, according to the council.

Edinburgh City Council estimates that this tax could raise between £11.6m and £14.6m a year for the city.

A final proposal on the roll-out of the tax will be developed next month.

“Once again, we are finding that there is a huge swell of support for a tourist tax in Edinburgh with residents and all types of business backing a scheme that is fair, sustainable and one which would be reinvested into the ongoing success of our tourism and hospitality industry and the services which matter most to local people,” said council leader Adam McVey.

“Edinburgh welcomes over four and a half million visitors annually, spending over £1.8bn. Our tourist economy is extremely strong and expected to continue to grow. A majority of businesses agree the vibrancy of our industry wouldn’t be threatened by a small levy but would benefit from the additional investment.

“91 per cent of Edinburgh residents back our plans because they know it will help us better manage the pressures in the city and help protect their environment. We stand with residents in our support for a tourist levy for the good of our capital.”

Alison Evison, president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, said: “This is important news and certainly strengthens the case for the introduction of a local tax – to address local issues – in this case a transient visitor tax for Edinburgh. This is hard evidence from a consultation that shows an overwhelming appreciation of the potential benefits of a discretionary tax.”

Edinburgh isn’t the first city to mull a tourist tax. Last month, Venice said it would introduce a tourism tax, while last autumn the Scottish Highlands said it was considering a visitor tax.

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