Edinburgh can raise £29 million a year from tourism taxation

 Friday, June 1, 2018 


EdinburghEdinburgh, the Scottish capital like Venice and Barcelona is introducing a tourist tax to make the city clean and safer.



The Edinburgh City Council said it could rise as much as £29 million a year to help keep streets clean and manage growing numbers of tourists as it agreed to the plan.



The Over-tourism in Edinburgh has already led to a ticket system at Edinburgh Castle and calls for curbs on the number of tourist coaches choking historic thoroughfares in the city’s World Heritage Site.



The hospitality industry leaders “steadfastly” oppose the levy, insisting enough taxes are raised in the UK and shared with councils, adding Edinburgh would still need special permission from Holyrood to raise the tax.



However, the move has given impetus to others and is also now being considered by councils including Glasgow. It comes as an MSP said the city is being denied “European” status by so far being refused the power to raise such taxes.



Andy Wightman, Green MSP, urged Holyrood to bring forward legislation to give local councils powers that municipalities in other European countries take for granted. The body that represents Scottish local authorities, Cosla, has also backed local tax-raising powers. An Edinburgh group of the Educational Institute of Scotland is also expected to raise at the union AGM whether education could benefit from tourist tax. Adam McVey, leader of the SNP-Labour coalition council, said the next stage of the process is to consult fully with hospitality firms, who have been consistently opposed to the plan.



Around Europe, the tourist levies are seen in popular destinations, and in Paris, it costs about £2.50 per person in a mid-range hotel, in Rome, it is about £5 per person, Barcelona £2 and £3.50 in Venice.



The city’s full council voted on Thursday to press ahead with the tourist tax – or transient visitor levy. Mr McVey also said that with such a level of vibrancy come consequences that we need to manage and mitigate.



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