Edinburgh's proposed tourist tax divides city's hospitality sector

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Edinburgh's proposed tourist tax divides city's hospitality sector

Related tags: Tourism, Restaurant, Hotel

A consultation in to introducing a controversial tourism tax in Edinburgh has divided hospitality businesses in the city.

A survey of 200 organisations in the Scottish capital by the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce found 50% of hospitality businesses which responded supported the introduction of the charge.

Edinburgh City Council is considering introducing a tax of £2 per person per night on hotel stays to help fund services it says are put under strain by the city’s festival and tourist trade.

It says the year-round Transient Visitor Levy (TVL) would raise an extra £11m a year.

Almost 70% of businesses surveyed overall supported the TVL.

Wider issue

But the Scottish Tourism Alliance says only 26 hospitality and tourism businesses responded to the survey – meaning 13 were in favour of the tax.

“It’s not clear what type of tourism and hospitality businesses these are; whether these are hotels, bars, restaurants or visitor attractions for example,” the group says.

Tourism tax is not a novelty in Europe, visitors to Berlin, Paris or Barcelona already find themselves paying an extra charge for a night’s stay.

But critics say such a levy in the UK would put the country at a further competitive disadvantage as its 20% rate of tourism VAT is already higher than its European neighbours.

The idea of a TVL in Edinburgh has been debated at a local and national level for over a decade.​ Earlier this year the Scottish Government announced a national consultation on the matter.

Bath is also considering introducing a similar tax​ of £1 a night, but this cannot be achieved without the government’s approval.

Related topics: Legislation

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