Edinburgh, Scotland is set to start charging visitors to stay overnight in the city under new proposals. The city’s council has said plans to a tourism tax have “received “strong support.” The tax would see holidaymakers £2 per room per night when staying in the Scottish city. All forms of accommodation would be subject to the new levy – known as the Tourism Visitor Levy (TVL) – including short lets. It will be capped at seven night, but with the historic city being popular with Britons for mini breaks it is likely to hit the majority of visitors.

It would be capped at seven nights. The move comes as “demands on the city increase” and extra funding is needed to “invest in and manage the impact of the growth.”

It’s estimated the model could raise between £11.6million and £14.6million per year.

These sums will be re-invested into Edinburgh city, benefiting everything from public services and culture and heritage to the tourism industry itself.

Local residents and business have supported the proposal to charge tourists extra, claimed Edinburgh City Council.

Research by Marketing Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce showed 85 per cent expressed strong support for the proposals including 51 per cent of accommodation providers.

However, 19 per cent of respondents believed the charge of £2 was too low for the tax.

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.

“Edinburgh welcomes over four and a half million visitors annually, spending over £1.8billion. Our tourist economy is extremely strong and expected to continue to grow.

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“As a Council, we have a strong track record of investing in and supporting our cultural offering and heritage – but as the demands on our city increase, we will need a secure additional source of funding to sustainably invest in and manage the impact of this growth.”

However, some local businesses are unhappy with the potential introduction of a tax.

They are concerned it could negatively affect the tourism industry and could deter visitors.

Russell Imrie, spokesman for the Edinburgh Hotels Association, told local news site Edinburgh News: “It is unbelievable. We know, having spoken face-to-face with hoteliers, they are opposed to this.”

Of the council discussions Imrie has been privy to, “there was nobody from the accommodation sector who was in favour of a tourist tax at any of these events. So the round-table outcomes are in complete contradiction to the survey results.”

The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) has called the council response to results “ambiguous”.

STA said in a statement: “Out of the 2560 responses to the consultation, just 17 per cent were from all businesses types, both within and outside Edinburgh which is very low considering the importance of the tourism economy tourism to the majority of businesses within Edinburgh, and only seven per cent of these were from Edinburgh accommodation providers.

“78 per cent of respondents were from Edinburgh residents and just three per cent were tourists.”

STA added: “Greater transparency is required and we will be seeking clarity from Edinburgh City Council to better understand the results of the survey and pose questions that we and other member trade associations have as a result of today’s announcement.”

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If plans for the tourism tax go ahead, the Scottish government will need to grant Edinburgh City Council the required power to implement it.

Edinburgh is far from the only European city to introduce a tourist tax. Venice visitors will have to pay a surcharge to enter the ancient Italian city.

Overwhelming visitor numbers to the sinking city have angered Venetians for decades despite tourism being Venice’s lifeblood.

Source
Daily Express :: Travel News Feed
travel news

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