Tourist Tax: Edinburgh tourists could be charged for walking on Royal Mile

Flagship pedestrian streets such as Edinburgh's Royal Mile could be targeted
Flagship pedestrian streets such as Edinburgh's Royal Mile could be targeted
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The prospect of charging tourists to access landmark pedestrian streets such as Edinburgh's Royal Mile are among the ideas being explored as part of a new "tourist tax" in a formal consultation.

Cruise ship passengers, motorhome drivers and rough campers could also be targeted, with road tolls also being looked at in the document published by the Scottish Government.

Ministers say they are "not minded" extend the tax beyond overnight stays in hotels because of the practical problems they would present, but want to explore all possibilities.

"There are strong arguments in favour of taxing day visitors," the consultation states.
But it adds: "It is difficult to envisage how such a levy could be applied and collected in a practical manner."

Council chiefs have campaigned for the tax to raise revenues as budgets are cut, but the tourism industry fears it could drive away visitors.

Charging for pedestrian access to certain streets or tolls at certain roads are among the suggestions after being raised in a "National Discussion" with all sectors involved in the change.

The prospect of a tax on restaurants or taxis is also raised, but there are concerns about how such a move would distinguish tourists local residents.

Cruise ship passengers could also be targeted through a disembarkation or mooring tax in Edinburgh, the consultation states.

Motorhomes and camper vans parked and occupied overnight in areas which are not formal campsites or parking places could also be hit, although this could be difficult in remote areas.

Public finance minister Kate Forbes said: "There are further considerations explored, including the potential to extend the levy to other visitor activities, ensuring appropriate exemptions from the levy are implemented throughout Scotland and ensuring that the tourist industry is engaged in decisions about applying the levy and how revenues can be spent to further support the tourism industry."