Plans to introduce a £2 tourist tax in Edinburgh have won support in a recent public consultation.
image: Fiona Newton
The BBC writes:
Some Scottish councils, led by Edinburgh, have called for powers to set levies on tourist accommodation. Figures show 85% of respondents to a City of Edinburgh Council survey backed the move, including more than half of accommodation providers.
The Scottish government has said it will further consult on the issue. More than 2,500 residents and businesses responded to the council consultation on what it calls a Tourism Visitor Levy (TVL) of either 2% or £2 per room per night. The results suggested 90% of residents are supportive of a tourist tax, while 51% of Edinburgh accommodation providers, who would have to enforce the proposal, also support it. Only 9% of all respondents were opposed to the visitor levy.
City of Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey, said: ‘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…’
… It is estimated the tax could raise between £11.6m and £14.6m per year in Edinburgh.
Marc Crothall, of the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), said more transparency was required around the survey’s results, and questioned whether it was fair for the council to claim ‘significant’ support from Edinburgh accommodation providers, given that they made up only a small proportion of respondents. He said: ‘The results of the recent tourism tax consultation is, in our view, ambiguous…’
… ‘He added that the figures indicated that only 87 Edinburgh accommodation providers – less than 5% of all tourism businesses in Edinburgh – had said they strongly support plans for a tourist tax, and that it was unclear from the council figures what type of accommodation providers these are. Mr Crothall said: ‘Greater transparency is required and we will be seeking clarity from Edinburgh city council to better understand the results of the surbey…’
The Scottish government had been firmly against allowing councils to set a tourist tax but Nicola Sturgeon signalled a change in direction last year when she said there should be further consultation…