Sturgeon Announces Public Consultation over ‘Tourist Tax’

 

06.08.2005

Tourists on the Royal Mile

Nicola Sturgeon has announced that the Scottish Government will hold a national public consultation in order to determine whether or not they will introduce an Edinburgh Transient Visitor Levy, or to you and me, a tourist tax.

The Edinburgh council are pushing for the tax to be implemented as they believe it is a fair way for the city to profit from its booming tourist industry.

They propose a tax of either 2% or £2 on all accommodation types in the whole city, capped at seven nights.

The seven night cap has been proposed in order to focus the tax on tourism and avoid taxing people who are staying in the city for business and people who are coming to work on the fringe festival.

Whilst there has been a great deal of support from the public and from members of government, there has been some traction from hospitality companies as well as Edinburgh Airport.

They claim that the tax will deter tourists from the city and will ultimately mean a loss of profits for both industries and the city itself.

Gordon Dewar, a representative for Edinburgh Airport, said:

“A family thinking about travelling to perhaps Berlin… if it’s going to cost 70 or 80 pounds more before they’ve even booked it, that’s likely to drive demand away and can’t be good news.Just taxing, particularly accommodation, is certainly not the way to go.”

Ross Greer, a Green MSP for the west of Scotland, took to Twitter last night to take issue with Dewar’s argument on STV News.

In his tweet, Greer points out the irony in Dewar’s comments as Berlin already has a tourist tax of sorts.

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Greer’s tweet

Berlin’s ‘city tax’ was introduced in 2014 and equates to 5% of the price of a room, including VAT and fees for amenities.

Like the Edinburgh council’s proposal, Berlin’s tourist tax exempts business travellers.

It remains to be seen whether the Scottish Government will implement the proposed new tax, but the announcement of a public consultation certainly means that the City of Edinburgh Council’s proposal is being taken seriously.

By Rory Hill

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