Overwhelming support for a ‘tourist tax’ in Edinburgh

Thursday January 10th, 2019

Figures published by the Council today reveal strong support for the introduction of a Transient Visitor Levy (TVL) in the Capital.edinburgh_skyline

The Council received over 2,500 responses to its eight-week public consultation held at the end of 2018. The results reveal 85% expressed strong support for the introduction of TVL or ‘tourist tax’ in the city. This figure includes a majority of Edinburgh-based businesses and accommodation providers.

The consultation invited the public to feedback on the Council’s draft proposals which suggest a charge of either 2% or £2 per room per night, chargeable all year round on all forms of accommodation, including short-term lets but capped at seven nights. It is estimated that this model could raise between £11.6m and £14.6m per year.

Reinforcing recent research by Marketing Edinburgh (external link) and the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce (external link), which also demonstrated strong support for a TVL from local residents and business, the responses show that:

  • 85% expressed strong support for the proposals including 51% of accommodation providers
  • The majority of respondents (72%) agree that Edinburgh’s TVL should be set at a rate of around £2 a night or 2% of the cost of accommodation, while 19% felt this was too low
  • Most respondents (47%) prefer the option of a flat ‘£ per night, per room’ rate but a high number (38%) would rather see a charge introduced which is based on the percentage of the room fee
  • 81% of respondents want to see at least a seven-day cap on charges to help protect festival performers and other non-leisure visitors
  • Respondents agreed with the Council objectives of supporting sustainable investment in tourism and managing the impact of tourism on the city and its residents.

A final proposal on how the Council hopes to take forward a TVL scheme will now be developed for elected member approval in February, before being passed to the Scottish Government as it considers its position on the legal framework for a TVL.

Commenting, Council Leader Adam McVey, said: “Once again, we are finding that there is a huge swell of support for a ‘tourist tax’ in Edinburgh with residents and all types of business backing a scheme that is fair, sustainable and one which would be reinvested into the ongoing success of our tourism and hospitality industry and the services which matter most to local people.

“Edinburgh welcomes over four and a half million visitors annually, spending over £1.8bn. Our tourist economy is extremely strong and expected to continue to grow. A majority of businesses agree the vibrancy of our industry wouldn’t be threatened by a small levy but would benefit from the additional investment. Interestingly, this includes more than half of accommodation providers, dispelling fears in certain quarters that the industry wouldn’t support a TVL.

“As a Council, we have a strong track record of investing in and supporting our cultural offering and heritage – but as the demands on our city increase, we will need a secure additional source of funding to sustainably invest in and manage the impact of this growth. 91% of Edinburgh residents back our plans because they know it will help us better manage the pressures in the City and help protect their environment. We stand with residents in our support for a tourist levy for the good of our Capital.”

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