Tight Scots want to tax visitors to Edinburgh

Most cities welcome visitors. They welcome the business they bring to local hotels, restaurants and attractions, the money they inject into the local economy and the jobs that tourists create. 

Some, like Venice and Barcelona, are full to the brim - and trying to scare visitors away. Now, add to that list Edinburgh in Scotland, which wants to gouge its visitors with a daily tariff. 




The BBC reports councillors in Edinburgh have voted in favour of a "tourist tax", which could become the first of its kind to be imposed in the United KIngdom.
The new tax will not come into effect until the Scottish Parliament has passed enabling legislation, which is unlikely to happen before next year.
Edinburgh's transient visitor levy (TVL) proposals include a £2-per-night charge ($3.65) added to the price of any room for the first week of a stay. It would apply to all accommodation, including Airbnb-style short-term lets.
It is my view that collecting such a desultory charge will probably cost more than is raised. But councillors in Edinburgh backed the plans by 43 votes to 15. Five  did not vote. You have to wonder if having 63 councillors is not rather excessive (and expensive) for one city. 
The councillors say the aim is to raise money to pay for the costs of mass tourism in the Scottish capital, which is estimated to attract more than four million visitors every year.
It is estimated the tax could raise between £11.6m and £14.6m per year in Edinburgh and would apply to "all paid accommodation" across Edinburgh, including hotels, B&Bs, short-term lets and hostels. Visitors staying in campsites would be exempt (meaning campsites would be too hard to manage).
The council's decision was welcomed by Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce but they asked for more information about how the money will be spent.
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.
Travellers to Scotland now know where they are not wanted. 

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