Tourist tax under scrutiny as Edinburgh's festivals request exemption

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Holyrood's Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee began examining the plans on Tuesday with an announcement that councils could start charging for a fee on

overnight visitors.

David Weston, chairman of the Scottish Bed and Breakfast Association, warned that the charges - as they now stand - could "skew the way it behaves."

"Risks the competitiveness of the Scottish tourism industry" - Fiona Campbell (cricketer)

Fiona Campbell is a Scottish cricketer who has represented her country internationally.

Fiona Campbell, chief executive of the Association of Scotland's Self-Catering Companies, claimed the suggested fee 'risks the competitiveness of the Scottish tourism industry'.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: "It is reasonable to ask visitors to make a small contribution on top of the cost of their overnight accommodation to help manage

the impact of tourism in local areas.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: 'The visitor levy is part of the Scottish Government's work to support and sustain the visitor economy in Scotland.

The new charge would represent a percentage of the visitor's overnight fees and would apply to people travelling in hotels, hostels, guesthouses, self-catering facilities, campsites,

caravan parks and wharves.

The flexibility it gives councils when setting the levy rate was welcomed by the local authority Cosla, but concerns were echoed by Edinburgh Festival Manager Julia Amour that

councils may use the proceeds to "substitute" the reduced funding elsewhere.

While other European cities have instituted similar fees, Weston told MSPs that taxes on tourists in the UK were already high.