A proposed tourist tax in Edinburgh will be put to city councillors next week as they consider implementing what would be a UK first.
Plans for the transient visitor levy (TVL) include a £2 per night room charge, an exemption for campsites, a cap of seven consecutive nights and investing an estimated £14.6 million every year.
The £2 charge is regarded as a better approach than a percentage charge, while the seven-night cap is designed to protect seasonal and festival workers in the city for extended periods of time.
If approved by a full council meeting on Thursday February 7, the council will then put its recommendations to ministers and MSPs to have the final say.
Council leader Adam McVey said it was “an obvious choice for Edinburgh”.
He said: “Having listened carefully to all of the feedback we’ve received from industry partners and the citizens and businesses of Edinburgh, we’ve refined our proposals and are in a really strong position to take forward a TVL.
“The capital’s population is increasing rapidly and visitor numbers continue to grow due to Edinburgh being a fantastic place to live, work, visit and invest.
“Our economic strength has brought us a great deal of success as a city but the reality is, without an additional income stream, we will struggle to manage and support this success in future.
“Tourism and hospitality are key drivers of our economy and this levy provides us with a way to sustainably support its continued success and reduce impacts on residents all year round.”
He added: “It 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.
“Plus, all of the research points to visitors being happy to pay a modest sum – just £2 – to help us do just that.
“A TVL is an obvious solution for the council, for our people and for the future of our city.”
Edinburgh would follow in the footsteps of European cities such as Paris and Barcelona, while Bath and Oxford councils have also called for powers to charge visitors.
A recent public consultation indicated more than half (51%) of accommodation providers and 91% of residents supported the introduction of a TVL.
The council said it is estimated the proposals could raise between £11.6 million and £14.6 million per year.
Cammy Day, depute council leader, said: “A TVL would be a fair and efficient mechanism to raise funds to reinvest in our beautiful, historic city.
“Being successful as a visitor destination comes at a cost. Why shouldn’t it come at a modest price to visitors, too?
“This isn’t just a case of the council saying ‘let’s introduce a visitor levy’, these proposals have the overwhelming backing of Edinburgh’s residents, businesses, attractions and even support from accommodation providers.
“I hope to see the Scottish Government look favourably upon what I believe to be a strong submission and completely reasonable request.”