Support voiced for a tourist tax in Edinburgh

Edinburgh City Council has revealed strong support for the introduction of a Transient Visitor Levy (TVL) in the Scottish capital.

Having received over 2,500 responses to its eight-week public consultation held at the end of 2018, the council says that the results showcase strong support for the introduction of TVL or ‘tourist tax’ in the city, with 85 per cent of respondents in favour.

Last year, the council revealed draft proposals which suggest a charge of either two per cent or £2 per room per night, chargeable all year round on all forms of accommodation, including short-term lets but capped at seven nights. It is estimated that this model could raise between £11.6 million and £14.6 million per year. 72 per cent of respondents agreed with this rate.

Interestingly, 81 per cent of respondents want to see at least a seven-day cap on charges to help protect festival performers and other non-leisure visitors.

Adam McVey, council leader, 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 £1.8 billion. Our tourist economy is extremely strong and expected to continue to grow. A majority of businesses agree the vibrancy of our industry wouldn’t be threatened by a small levy but would benefit from the additional investment. Interestingly, this includes more than half of accommodation providers, dispelling fears in certain quarters that the industry wouldn’t support a TVL.

“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. 91 per cent of Edinburgh residents back our plans because they know it will help us better manage the pressures in the city and help protect their environment. We stand with residents in our support for a tourist levy for the good of our capital.”