Hotels and B&Bs vote in favour of Edinburgh tourist tax as support increases

Have your say

A majority of accommodation providers in Edinburgh support the introduction of a tourist tax, according to the city council’s public consultation on the issue.

An online survey that was part of the eight-week consultation found 51 per cent of hotels, bed and breakfasts and other accommodation providers strongly backed the council’s proposals for a two per cent or £2 a room per night charge levied all year round. Some 37 per cent of accommodation providers were strongly opposed.

Tourists in central Edinburgh. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Tourists in central Edinburgh. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

About 12 per cent were neither strongly for or against the proposal. More than 2,500 responses were received with overall support for the tax at 85 per cent.

Capital residents were the most strongly in favour at 91 per cent. Other Edinburgh businesses, including visitor attractions, were 78 per cent in favour, while 69 per cent of visitors backed it and 68 per cent of other organisations.

Edinburgh welcomes more than 4.5 million visitors every year and they spend more than £1.8 billion.

A tourist tax at the council’s proposed level, chargeable all year round on all forms of accommodation including short-term lets but capped at seven nights, would raise up to an estimated £14.6m a year.

But the council needs the Scottish Government to give it the power to bring in the tax before it can go ahead.

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. 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 hoteliers wouldn’t support it.

“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.” Previous research found 88 per cent of summer tourists would still come to Edinburgh if there was a £2 a room per night tax.