Edinburgh set to become first UK city to charge tourist tax

By Lisa James
Home » Edinburgh set to become first UK city to charge tourist tax

Nicola Sturgeon has outlined plans to introduce a tourist tax for visitors to Edinburgh.

The First Minister announced on Tuesday she’ll introduce a Bill to give councils the power to enact tourist tax schemes. The visitor levy will pay for ‘tourist and related infrastructure’.

If the plan gets the go-ahead, Edinburgh will become the first UK city to charge a tourist tax. The City of Edinburgh Council says it could generate £15 million each year.

The proposed tax would see tourists charged an additional accommodation fee.

Ms Sturgeon said: “We will introduce a Local Visitor Levy Bill to give local authorities additional fiscal flexibility.

“This will help councils, if they so choose, to fund activities related to tourism and related infrastructure.”

City of Edinburgh Council leader Cammy Day said: “We believe it’s right to ask visitors to make a small contribution to help us sustain and improve our tourism offer while managing its impact.

“We’ve been building the case for Edinburgh to become the first city in the UK to introduce such a levy, consistently and repeatedly making the case to Scottish ministers without success – until now.

“Ultimately the income this generates will help us continue to invest in and manage the success of tourism on our city, making sure we continue to offer one of the most enviable and enjoyable visitor experiences in the world – while bringing new and additional benefits to our residents who live and work here all year round.”

When the idea was mooted in 2018, 85% of businesses in the city said they supported it.

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