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Edinburgh may introduce ‘tourist tax’

December 12, 2011

Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Tourists planning to travel to Edinburgh to catch a glimpse of what the city has to offer could soon be paying extra for the experience – after the city announced they are considering introducing a controversial ‘tourist tax’.

The city council this week have held discussions about bringing in the fee, which could bring in between £5 – £10 million extra in revenue each year. On top of their accommodation costs, guests in the city would pay an extra ‘bed tax’ charge of either £1 or £2 a night. Countries across the world, including the cities of Vancouver and Venice have also introduced tourist taxes.

Edinburgh Council officials are hugely in favour of the new idea, however Green councillor Steve Burgess has argued it would be “unlikely to discourage visitors or affect the hotel trade”. He argued, “£1 or £2 will not make a big different when most hotel rates in Edinburgh start at £50 or £60”.

According to records of the discussion on the possible tax, it is noticed that it would require Scottish Parliament legislation to enable the City of Edinburgh Council to introduce a transient visitor levy.

Hoteliers in the city however, have reacted in a negative way to the proposed idea. However Italy’s great Renaissance destination has justified their tourist tax as a way of protecting the city’s heritage. Sandro Simionato, Venice’s deputy mayor said: “This tax is a new and important opportunity for the city”. “The fundamental objective, which will also involve tourists who visit and love Venice, is to save this unique city, which is precious and fragile”.



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