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Edinburgh publishes tourist tax plans

Edinburgh City Council has published details of what a transient visitor levy (TVL) or ‘tourist tax’ could look like if it were introduced in the capital.

The plans include a charge of either 2% or £2 per room per night, chargeable all year round on all forms of accommodation, including short-term lets, but capped at seven nights.

According to the council, it could generate ‘at least’ £11m per annum in additional income for the local authority.

Several local authorities in the past have mooted the idea of introducing a tourist tax, but so far none have actually introduced one.

Subject to councillors’ approval next week (2 October), the local authority will launch a public consultation on key aspects on the draft scheme, which has been developed following detailed research.

Respondents in the consultation will be asked for their views on whether the charge should be a percentage of room cost or a flat fee per night, on the size of the charge, what types of accommodation should be covered, whether it should be seasonal or all-year-round and whether it should be capped.

‘These draft proposals will form the basis for wider public consultation with all of our stakeholders and, importantly, with the residents of this city,’ said council leader, Cllr Adam McVey.

‘Public consultation will allow for a wider and transparent debate over important details with everyone who has a view and we believe this approach is an important component of gaining trust and support for the scheme,’ he added.

‘We continue to believe that a TVL is in the best interests of our residents, our tourism industry and those who visit us, and we fully expect the robust, professional approach we are taking to achieve a positive result for the capital.’

Independent research, commissioned by Marketing Edinburgh, found that a small nightly charge would not deter visitors from coming to the city and that Edinburgh residents are supportive of the idea.

The proposals also found favour with Scotland’s other local authorities, with all 32 backing calls for the powers necessary to implement a TVL.

‘The survey results published earlier this month back up our thinking that tourists wouldn’t be put off from visiting the city should one be introduced,’ added deputy leader, Cllr Cammy Day.

‘This is consistent with the experience of other cities and dispels many of the fears voiced by some in the industry.

‘We are not wedded to one way of delivering a TVL and see this consultation as a way of co-producing a scheme that works for Edinburgh. We are very much listening to everyone involved around what they believe is fair, what is simple and what will work.’

To read the full proposals, click here.

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart

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