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Edinburgh makes a case for UK’s first tourist tax

Source: The Scottish Government | | 19/02/2019

The City of Edinburgh Council is seeking permission to introduce a tourist tax. After an extensive consultation, the members of Edinburgh Council have agreed to submit proposals to the Scottish Government. The City Council voted in favour of the proposal by a margin of 43 to 15. The Scottish government, that had previously been against such a tax, has agreed to further consultations on the issue. Any changes will require that necessary legislation be put in place.

A number of different options were put forward for the introduction of a Transient Visitor Levy (TVL) scheme in Edinburgh. The council agreed that if the TVL is introduced it will be at a flat rate levy of £2 per night room charge. The charge would apply all year round for all accommodation types within the council boundary of Edinburgh except for campsites and for a maximum of 7 consecutive nights.

There are similar tourist tax charges in other European cities including Barcelona and Amsterdam. However, if approved this will be the first tourist tax to be introduced in the UK. This could be the thin edge of the wedge with many other UK cities looking to follow such a move.

It is estimated that this tax could raise between £11.6m and £14.6m per year. The monies raised would be used managing, supporting and increasing tourism in the city. This would include improving the visitor experience of Edinburgh and also managing the impacts of tourism within the city.

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