A % local tax has been added to hotel rates for many years in some of the most wildly popular international tourist destinations. It’s a fundraising scheme that hasn’t yet been replicated in the UK. But change is potentially afoot…
Edinburgh is set to become the first UK tourist destination to follow suit, by adding a so-called tourism levy to the price of every bedroom booking. Unsurprisingly, the proposal is splitting opinion, though a gigantic 85% of accommodation providers, businesses and residents of the Scottish capital give it the thumbs up.
Speaking on behalf of the ‘For’ camp, the Council underlines the overall benefits of having an additional income stream to upkeep and improve the city’s infrastructure and services. The benefits, it claims, include a future fit tourism offering for the greater good of visitors and of the people who live and work there.
But the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) is on the opposite side of the case. It suggests that additional charges, straight off the back of Covid, might be punitive to the tourism sector. In addition, it warns that businesses need to be competitive, rather than potentially off-putting to domestic and overseas visitors.
The proposal is due to be voted on in early 2023.