Council push tourist bed tax

Tourists could soon face additional charges for staying overnight in Edinburgh (photo by Tony Hisgett/Flickr)

Tourists could soon face additional charges for staying overnight in Edinburgh (photo by Tony Hisgett/Flickr)

Edinburgh City Council chiefs have attended two material meetings with officials from the Scottish Government to discuss a “transient visitor levy,” which would see visitors to the city paying additional costs for each night they stay in Edinburgh.

Plans for the tax – which would add between £1 and £2 per night to the cost of a room in the city – were backed by the council in 2011. However, they faced opposition from ministers in the Scottish Parliament, who did not respond positively to the proposal.

It is hoped that the tax would raise up to £10 million, which would be used to fund festivals, venues, and conference centres.

An alternative to the proposal was suggested last year in the form of a voluntary levy, but was ruled out amid concerns over the reliability of income for the tax, and fears that not enough firms would sign up for it.

Concerns have been raised regarding how the introduction of this tax could affect tourism in Edinburgh.

A VisitScotland spokesperson said: “Our research shows that value for money is one of the key factors which visitors consider when making choices about where they go when travelling.

“Both VisitScotland and those working within Scotland’s tourism sector are concerned that in the current economic climate, any increase for the Scottish industry that is directly passed to consumers could impact on visitor choice, and may see them consider holidaying in other destinations.

“This could then have a significant impact on the country’s vital visitor economy.”

The scheme is attempting to emulate the success of other tourist taxes which have been set up in New York, Venice and Vancouver.

Radio ENRG spoke to a local businessman about the impact the bed tax could have on tourism in Edinburgh: 


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