Former council leader supports Edinburg tourist tax

Published on : Thursday, January 4, 2018

indexThe tourist tax of £1 per night on hotel bills is quite a controversial issue, with many industry experts expressing their disbelief by warning that it has the possibility to harm the sector. On the other hand, supporters argue that it would welcome much-needed revenue for investment in the sector.

 
The Scottish Government has explained that it has no such strategy to implement such tax. However, Mr Anderson stated it was “a significant gap” in Finance Secretary Derek Mackay’s budget revealed last month in the Scottish Parliament. While writing in the Evening News’ sister paper, The Scotsman, Mr Anderson said: “This is a small tax on the visitor. It would create resources that would ensure that our festivals can compete effectively in a tourism market which is the world’s biggest and one of its fastest growing industries.

 
“There are critics, not least from the hotel trade which rightly points to higher levels of VAT here than in mainland Europe. However, any tourism tax pales into insignificance against the variation of the ‘rack rate’ in modern hotels. Anyway, it’s hardly a tax, rather it’s a mechanism to secure future investment.”

 
He stated that even though tourist tax achieved a mere one percent growth in hotel occupancy, it would be easily justified.

 
“Nobody likes new taxes, but if we want an economy that grows as well for the next 20 years as it has for the last 20, this looks like a good way to help achieve that. Edinburgh’s Christmas, much like the International and Fringe Festivals had very humble beginnings, but it is now one of the most successful events of its kind. Our festivals make Edinburgh a better place for its residents and visitors. They’ve ensured that empty shops in the city centre are a rare event these days, and they support and protect jobs of more than one in ten of the 
population.”

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