Businesses are against city’s tourist tax plan
PLANS for a tourism tax in Edinburgh have been branded “unwanted and damaging” as a survey of local businesses reveals a majority were against it.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) surveyed 124 businesses in the city, with 94 (76 per cent) 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 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 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 and home to some of our most iconic landmarks.”