A tourist-tax plan that would turn Edinburgh into Cold War Berlin – John McLellan
It is one of the strange anomalies of the council’s plans for a tourist tax that visitors staying in a relatively cheap B&B would pay the levy while someone driving a road-hogging, gas-guzzling camper van to Mortonhall would not, so it’s only right that such exemptions be examined in the consultation which will accompany the Scottish Government’s plans for legislation.
Similarly, it would be very, very odd to exempt visitors from cruise ships who can swamp attractions within moments when they arrive en masse.
If Orkney wanted to introduce a tourist tax, cruise ships would be the first target, with hordes of cruise passengers not only swarming over sensitive sites like Skara Brae but on one notorious occasion disrupting a funeral at St Magnus Cathedral.
But it should be safely assumed the suggestion that tourists on foot could be charged to access historic streets like the High Street will go no further than the consultation paper, given it would not only require some sort of toll system like mediaeval times, but for locals to carry some sort of ID to prevent some yellow-coated official demanding cash to walk their own streets.
Summertime Streets would become like Checkpoint Charlie, although at least the Berlin Wall’s crossing points were better designed.
It has long been an affront that Edinburgh people have to pay to walk through their own city centre at Hogmanay but even just the notion of extending it across the high season should be strangled at birth.