Edinburgh consider introducing ‘tourist tax’

Tourists planning to travel to Edinburgh to catch a glimpse of what the city has to offer could soon be paying extra for the experience – after the city announced they are considering introducing a controversial ‘tourist tax’.


The city council this week have held discussions about bringing in the fee, which could bring in between £5 and £10million extra in revenue each year.


On top of their accommodation cost guests in the city would pay an extra ‘bed tax’ charge of either £1 or £2 a night.


Countries across the world, including Vancouver and Venice have also introduced tourist taxes.


Edinburgh Council officials are hugely in favour of the new idea, however Green councillor Steve Burgess has argued it would be “unlikely to discourage visitors or affect the hotel trade”.


He argued, “£1 or £2 will not make a big different when most hotel rates in Edinburgh start at £50 or £60”.


According to records of the discussion on the possible tax, it is noticed that it would require Scottish Parliament legislation to enable the City of Edinburgh Council to introduce a transient visitor levy.


Hoteliers in the city however, have reacted in a negative way to the proposed idea.


Colin Paton of the Edinburgh Hotels Association said, “This is a lose-lose initiative, and is completely anti-business. It would certainly put people off coming to Edinburgh and coming to Scotland”.


He added: “The City of Edinburgh wants to put itself at a competitive disadvantage to the rest of the UK. It is bad news for consumers, for business, for employees, for the city and for Scotland”.


Mr Paton also believes that the introduction of the change would lead to job losses.


However Italy’s great Renaissance destination has justified their tourist tax as a way of protecting the city’s heritage.


Sandro Simionato, Venice’s deputy mayor said: “This tax is a new and important opportunity for the city”.


“The fundamental objective, which will also involve tourists who visit and love Venice, is to save this unique city, which is precious and fragile”.


Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh