Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Revised Edinburgh tourist tax plan unveiled by council

Edinburgh festival crowds
Image caption Edinburgh sees a huge surge of visitors every summer for its festivals

Plans to introduce a £2 tourist tax in Edinburgh would be capped at seven nights, a new report has revealed.

Edinburgh City Council is finalising its plans for the UK's first tourist levy after the move won strong public support .

The tax proposes a flat £2 per night room charge, an exemption for campsites and a cap of seven consecutive nights.

The plan, if backed by councillors, will then be put to the Scottish government.

The council is proposing the £2 per night room charge for what it calls a Transient Visitor Levy (TVL).

The levy would apply to all accommodation types, including Airbnb-style short-term lets, but visitors staying in campsites would be exempt.

A cap of seven consecutive nights is also being proposed after concerns were raised about the impact on seasonal and festival workers who stay in Edinburgh for extended periods of time.

'Struggle to manage this success'

Council Leader Adam McVey, said: "The capital's population is increasing rapidly and visitor numbers continue to grow.

"Our economic strength has brought us a great deal of success as a city but the reality is, without an additional income stream, we will struggle to manage and support this success in future.

"Tourism and hospitality are key drivers of our economy and this levy provides us with a way to sustainably support its continued success and reduce impacts on residents all year round.

"That's why a visitor levy is an obvious choice for Edinburgh. It will help us continue to invest in and manage the success of tourism on our city."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tourist trinkets for sale in Edinburgh where visitors spend over £1.8bn every year

More than 2,500 residents and businesses responded to a recent city council survey on the tourist tax, with the results suggesting 90% of residents are supportive.

There has been a mixed response from accommodation providers, some of whom fear the tax could drive away trade.

It is estimated the tourist tax could raise up to £14.6m per year.

Edinburgh's councillors will discuss the plan on 7 February and if approved it will be formally submitted to the Scottish government.

The Scottish government had been firmly against allowing councils to set a tourist tax but Nicola Sturgeon signalled a change in direction last year when she said there should be further consultation.

The first minister said the issue required "very careful consideration".

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