Nicola Sturgeon announces ‘objective’ consultation on tourism tax

Written by Jenni Davidson on 2 October 2018 in News

City of Edinburgh Council has announced plans to introduce a £2 or two per cent per night tourist tax

Circus show during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe - Image credit: edinburghblog

Nicola Sturgeon has announced a nationwide consultation on a tourist tax.

The First Minister told the autumn conference of the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) that she wanted to make sure “all voices” were heard, including the tourism industry.

Councils are pushing for the power to introduce a ‘transient visitor levy’, with City of Edinburgh Council due to make a decision today on whether on a policy of initiating such a charge – something it does not currently have the power to do.

City of Edinburgh Council is proposing a two per cent or £2 per night charge, capped at seven nights in total, for all overnight visitors staying in accommodation in Edinburgh, including short-term lets.

The council estimates this would raise an extra £11m a year on local services to manage the impact of tourism on the city.

However, SNP City of Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey has had opposition from both business and his own party to the policy.

STA chief executive Marc Crothall suggested the possibility of a tourist tax being introduced was the “biggest issue” facing the industry.

The First Minister told the STA conference: “We are absolutely determined to ensure that your voice, the voice of industry and the tourism sector, is properly heard in the ongoing debate around a tourism tax.

“As you know, we have no plans to introduce a tourism tax.

“However, we do recognise, as you do, that some local authorities are making the case to have the power to do so should they consider that to be an appropriate response to local circumstances.

“We believe this issue does require very careful consideration.

“We will be accepting the STA’s call for an objective process of consultation involving the STS, COSLA and other key partners, which will examine in detail the arguments for and against a tourist tax.

“We’re determined that all voices will be heard and that the process will be properly informed.”

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