Edinburgh council to consult on £2 tourist tax

The Scottish Tourism Alliance is “disappointed” by Edinburgh City Council’s decision to consult about plans for a tourist tax of £2 per room, per night.

The tax would raise an extra £11 million a year to be spent on increasing tourism and managing its impact.

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said: “The STA is disappointed that Edinburgh City Council has proceeded to launch a consultation on its plans to charge a tourist tax of £2 per room, per night, having had no formal or meaningful engagement with Scotland’s tourism industry to date.

“The Scottish government has been consistent in its position that it has no plans for a tax on tourists and that the interests of the hospitality and tourism industry must be fully taken into account through consultation.

“The STA has requested that a formal stakeholder consultation takes place at national level, initiated by the Scottish government.

“We reiterated our request at a recent meeting with Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, and again by letter to the Cabinet Secretary this week.

“The time has come for an objective, well-informed national, rather than local debate following the conduct of independent research.”

The consultation could start next month and be completed by the end of the year, as long as approval is given by the council’s corporate policy and strategy committee on October 2.

Council leader Adam McVey said: “Our work over the summer has focused on key stakeholders, particularly those in the hospitality trade, and we are continuing to engage with them on the details of what an Edinburgh scheme could reasonably look like and options for implementing it.

“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.

“We continue to believe that a TVL [Transient Visitor Levy] 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.”