Edinburgh plans tourist tax as council chiefs aim to cash in on visitor spike after Queen’s death

Author: Yuvi September 22, 2022

Edinburgh council chiefs could introduce a so-called ‘tourist tax’ following a huge spike in visitor numbers following the Queen’s death, amid reports it could bring in £15million a year.

The city is one of the UK’s most popular destinations, seeing 4.9million separate trips from both domestic and international travelers in 2019.

Now leader of City of Edinburgh council, which is a Labor minority authority, Cammy Day, hopes to bring forward a timeline for a tourist levy in November – and said 85 per cent of locals and businesses supported the tax.

He warned the city will struggle to manage large scale events in the future without investment and that the prominent role played in the Queen’s mourning proceedings by the city will only increase the number of visitors.

Edinburgh would be the first city in the UK to introduce the tax, although 40 cities and countries around the world already have similar measures.

The SNP and Labor are both in favor of the policy, but the Scottish Conservatives have previously voiced strong opposition, saying it would ‘damage’ the local economy.

Wales and Cornwall are also considering a tourist tax, although some businesses fear it will only drive visitors away.

After the Queen passed away at Balmoral earlier this month, her coffin was initially transported to Edinburgh where it lay in state in St Giles’ Cathedral. Hundreds of thousands of people crowded the city streets to watch the coffin procession, as well as queuing for hours to see Her Majesty for one final time.

Tens of thousands of people line the streets of Edinburgh to see the Queen’s funeral procession pass by

People queue to view the coffin containing the body of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, September 12

People queue to view the coffin containing the body of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, September 12

Hogmanay sees a huge firework display above the iconic city skyline every year

Edinburgh’s tourism industry supports around 30,000 local jobs, with overnight visitors spending over £1.9billion a year – and popular events such as Hogmanay and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival can see the city’s population practically double overnight.

Labor Councillor Mr Day said: ‘The scenes in the last ten days from Edinburgh’s response to the death of the Queen were exceptional.

‘And I have no doubt that these stunning images of our city, which were beamed around the world to billions of people, will translate into even more interest in Edinburgh as an incredible place to visit.

‘This is, of course, hugely welcome – particularly for businesses following the hardship of the pandemic and in the face of steep inflation.

‘But we must acknowledge that spikes in visitor numbers to Edinburgh are not without their challenges.

‘As we all know, the city’s population more than doubles in August during the Festivals, and Hogmanay remains one of the most famous celebrations on the planet.

‘While we are of course well-versed in hosting major events, Edinburgh is a small city.

‘We need to manage how the city’s popularity affects our people and how it impacts our streets.

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

‘That’s precisely why we’ve worked so hard to convince the Scottish Government to give us the necessary powers to introduce a visitor levy, or tourist tax.’

Wales and Cornwall councils are both considering a similar tourist tax, but unlike Mr Day’s claims over its popularity in Edinburgh, Welsh businesses are fearful it could do more harm than good.

Christopher Frost, restauranteur and chairman of North Wales Tourism, said now was not the time for a tourism tax.

‘The cost-of-living crisis has seen an enormous surge in the price of energy, utilities and food,’ he said.

‘For many, prices have in some cases doubled or tripled and this has made the cost of doing business extremely high.

‘With the sector skills shortage, the challenges from an unregulated Airbnb market, the rise in employment costs, this is the wrong time to launch a consultation on a bed tax that will add further to the cost of doing business, will hit the confidence of an industry that has not yet overcome the challenges of the pandemic and will create further bad publicity for an industry that is already struggling.’

The proposed levy is one policy brought about through the Welsh Government’s co-operation agreement with Plaid Cymru.

Plaid Cymru’s Cefin Campbell said it could ‘make a real difference’ in developing and protecting local services and infrastructure.

The tourist tax in Edinburgh would see a proposed £2-a-night surcharge per visitor to the city – although exact details as to how this will be charged have not yet been unveiled.

Mr Day for Edinburgh said he was pleased First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that ministers will lay a bill before parliament early next year.

Writing in the Edinburgh Evening News he said he is ‘determined’ to see the tax implemented as soon as possible – with hopes it could bring in £15m a year.

He said: ‘Edinburgh is a gateway for tourism to the whole of Scotland and significantly contributes to the nation’s hospitality sector and economy.

‘Sector statistics say that it supports around 30,000 local jobs, with overnight visitors spending over £1.9bn a year in the city.

‘We estimate that a levy could raise in the region of £15m per year – funding which could secure additional resources to invest sustainably in and managing the success of tourism.

‘I want to be clear that these any visitor levy would be for the benefit of all of Edinburgh, not just the city centre.

‘All the research suggests a small levy would not deter tourists from visiting the Capital.

‘And, when we consulted with residents and businesses – including accommodation providers – 85 per cent had strong support for the levy’s introduction.’

22 September, 2022, 2:32 am

News Cinema on twitter News Cinema on facebook

Thursday, 22nd September 2022

More Stories
Hilaree Nelson, 49, Top Ski Mountaineer, Is Dead in Nepal Avalanche
Harry and Meghan ‘may be worried they are being eased out of the Royal Family’ after website change
Mysterious Blasts and Gas Leaks: What We Know About the Pipeline Breaks in Europe
Sabotaged Pipelines and a Mystery: Who Did It? (Was It Russia?)
‘Where’s Jackie?’ Biden Asks if Deceased Lawmaker Is at White House Event
Intrepid weather forecasters brave full force of Hurricane Ian amid 155 mph winds
Katie Couric Talks About Her Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Cuomo’s Next Steps Include a Podcast and a PAC
‘Redlining Is Racist’: $12 Million Settlement Ends Lending Inquiry
Good Samaritan risks life to rescue cat as raging waters from Hurricane Ian surround it
As Storm Hits, DeSantis Pauses Political Bomb-Throwing
SCHLOTT: Everyone is getting in on sick ‘Instagram face’ craze
MacKenzie Scott removes her new husband’s name from her philanthropic endeavors
Supreme Court to Reopen to the Public When Justices Return
Sleepwalker shares creepy video of herself ‘talking to ghosts’
Trump is worth $3.2 BILLION: Forbes unveils new estimate – a week after New York fraud suit
HALF of the world’s birds are in decline with 1 in 8 species moving ‘faster’ to extinction
Jared and Ivanka spend day at New Jersey beach as they dodge Hurricane Ian in Florida
Sonia Handelman Meyer, Socially Conscious Photographer, Dies at 102
Emergency services race to the scene as two planes collide at Heathrow airport
Flying into the eye of Ian: An experienced hurricane hunter takes a wild ride.
Navy SEALs recruits fac strict blood tests after steroids scandal where recruit died after Hell Week
‘Giant Backfire’: Trump’s Demand for Special Master Is Looking Like a Mistake
Banks Accuse Consumer Regulator of Abuse of Power
Fossilized Fish Reveal Earliest Known Prequel of ‘Jaws’
Left in the Dark After Hurricane Ian, Cuba Begins Restoring Power.
Hurricane Ian Made Landfall Just Short of a Rare Category 5 Storm
Now brace for return of Asian hornets! Warning issued after invasive insects are spotted in the UK
Flying into the eye of Ian: An experienced hurricane hunter takes a wild ride.
Tom Hanks, 66, shares he made only about four ‘pretty good’ movies
What does Hurricane Ian mean for Florida’s wildlife?
ESA astronaut performs the Jedi warrior and crescent moon poses while in microgravity aboard the ISS
Meeting in Brussels Signifies a Turning Point for Allies Arming Ukraine
Here’s why Hurricane Ian is sucking water out of Tampa Bay.
Property attorney in Florida shares tips to keep your home safe amid Hurricane Ian
Tom Hardy Sky Original Nature Series ‘Predators’
‘Blonde’ Review: Exploiting Marilyn Monroe for Old Times’ Sake
US, Russia Duel Over Leadership of UN Tech Group
NYC Children Gained in Reading, but Lost Ground in Math, Tests Show
Asteroid impacts on the moon coincided with some of the largest meteorite impacts on Earth
David Foreman, Hard-Line Environmentalist, Dies at 75