Poll reveals tourist tax more popular in Edinburgh than any other part of Scotland

People in Edinburgh are more supportive of the introduction of a tourist tax than any other part of the country, according to new research.

The opinion poll has revealed that almost half of people in Scotland are opposed to the visitor levy, which the Scottish Government gave the green light to in September.

More than a third of those surveyed by research firm 56 Degree Insight said they would be less likely to visit a destination which adopted the charge.

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And nearly half said they would be more likely to consider a holiday elsewhere in the UK if the tourist tax was imposed across Scotland.

Tourists wearing tartan hats walk along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. PA Photo. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
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However 57 per cent of people in Edinburgh, which is expected to be the first part of Scotland to introduce the levy, said they would be in favour.

The capital hopes to be the first part of the UK to impose the tourist tax, with a £2 a night charge predicted to generate an additional £15 million a year for the city council.

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However it is not yet clear what the authority will do with the money that is generated or how long it will take for the scheme to be set up.

The survey was commissioned by the Scottish Tourism Alliance, an industry body which has opposed the introduction of the levy while the tourism sector is recovering from the impact of the pandemic, rising costs and staff shortages.

The research states: “There is a division of opinion amongst Scots about the merits of the introduction of a tourist tax.

“Without clear messaging of how the income would be applied to benefit the local tourism economy, there is a threat that tourists may choose to visit alternative destinations.

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"Objections tended to focus on additional costs being added to domestic holidays, whilst supporters saw it as a good means of generating additional revenue to reinvest in the local area with several citing personal experience of paying local taxes abroad.”

STA chief executive Marc Crothall said: “From Covid to the cost-of-living, Scottish tourism faces unrelenting challenge with the new tourism tax adding yet more uncertainty and risk at the worst possible time.

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"These findings assume the money raised goes to help the sector; it is simply vital that it does if the tax proceeds.”

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