If Edinburgh council gets its way Scotland’s capital could become the first city in the UK to introduce a new tourist tax for hoteliers that could generate as much as £27m annually.
The proposals come as a reaction to a swell in visitor numbers, and the levy, which the council is currently campaigning for the legal powers to sanction, would also take in short-stay lets like Airbnb. The monies raised will, say the council, go towards improvements in the city’s infrastructure like congestion and dilapidated public spaces.
Speaking to The Guardian online, Willie Macleod, Scottish director of the industry group UK Hospitality, said industry studies showed a 1% increase in costs reduced spending by 1.3%. “Edinburgh seems hell bent on taxing our industry [but] there’s a limit to how much we can ask our customers to pay,” he added.
Adam McVey, Edinburgh’s council leader, countered that such fears were unjustified, saying “The council wanted only a small levy of £1 or £2 per bedroom per night, far lower than rates charged by other European cities.
“It’s less than a cup of coffee; no one is going to bat an eyelid at the end of their stay when they pay a few pounds extra,” he added.
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