Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Businesses oppose ‘unwanted and potentially damaging’ plans for Edinburgh tourism tax

© GettyEdinburgh (Getty Images/iStock)


PROPOSALS for a tourism tax in Edinburgh have been branded “unwanted and potentially damaging” as a survey of local businesses reveals a majority were opposed to the plans.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) surveyed 124 businesses in the city, with 94 (76%) stating they were against the introduction of a levy on tourism and 73% saying they thought it would have a negative impact on the local economy.

The city council is currently drawing up a business case for a proposed tax with the aim of persuading the Scottish Government to hand over the necessary power to introduce it.

The draft proposals are expected to be revealed this summer with a consultation with local businesses to follow.

It is estimated that visitors spend £1.46 billion each year in Edinburgh, supporting around 34,800 jobs.

Janet Torley, FSB area leader for the east of Scotland, said tourists must be valued and not “priced out” of the city.

She said: “This is a wake-up call for the City of Edinburgh Council, signalling that its plans to introduce a tourism tax in the city are unwanted and potentially damaging.

“Despite the caution which the Scottish Government has urged over this tax, the city council has pressed ahead with the development of a ‘business case’ for its introduction. Now it is clear that the overwhelming opinion of local businesses is ‘no’.

“Edinburgh is at the very heart of Scotland’s tourist industry – it is our most visited city, it has our busiest airport, and it is home to some of our most iconic landmarks.

“Edinburgh’s success as a magnet for international tourists is vital to the economic health of visitor economies right across the country.

“If we tax tourists out of Edinburgh, then we risk taxing them out of Scotland, damaging the prospects of small local businesses throughout Scotland and threatening jobs.”

The plans have drawn criticism from other industry bodies, including the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) and the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC).

Marc Crothall, STA chief executive, said: “The STA recognises the need across most destinations for an increased level of long- term sustainable investment, however applying a further cost to visitors is, in our opinion, not a sensible approach to take.

“The need for Scotland to become more competitive as a destination for visitors to travel to and spend money in is now greater than ever in relation to our impending exit from the EU.

“Any such visitor tax/levy being applied is counterproductive and could have a potentially devastating long-term impact on Scotland’s tourism industry and local economies.”

Fiona Campbell, ASSC chief executive, said a tourism tax would “threaten the existence of many small businesses” in the sector.