I have to completely disagree with your editorial (25 August). The obvious way to raise extra funding is by a hotel room tax, £1 per room per night with the monies being ring-fenced to fund the various festivals that bring so much to Edinburgh’s economy.
The hotels in Edinburgh make millions every year, not only during the Festival period in August, yet no doubt we will have to listen to the usual complaints from the hoteliers should such a tax be implemented. The usual statements concerning losing tourists, people not coming to Edinburgh etc will be trotted out but should be ignored. The fact is hotel prices during the Festival are pushed up in order to fleece the tourists with nothing being given back to Edinburgh.
The system works in many European cities and indeed when faced with such an item on a hotel bill when in one of these cities my first thought is always: “Edinburgh should be doing this.”
Never mind the usual moans from the hotel industry: tourists who want to come to Edinburgh will still come; an extra £7 per week for a hotel room will not be a deterrent. Any hoteliers objecting due to this possibility should be told to reduce their prices by £1 per night if it is such a worry.
Saughton Road North
Does The Scotsman really think that a “transient visitor tax” is likely to damage the various festivals rather than potentially help them?
In August and at other busy times, city hotels are able to quadruple overnight rates because of demand; an additional levy of 0.5 per cent or 1 per cent is hardly likely to send people to Manchester, excellent though its (biennial) festival is.
Whether such a levy is best managed through a tourism business improvement district (BID) or directly through a business rate supplement needs detailed discussion.
A reminder: the most successful tourism destination country in the world – France – has operated such a tax for years and is still successful.
Centre for Scottish Public Policy