Euan McGrory: Tourists are happy with an Edinburgh tourist tax

If the campaign for the Capital to be handed the power to levy a tourist tax was a football match, then we are probably not yet at halftime.

Thursday, 13th September 2018, 7:44 am
Tourists on the Royal Mile. Pic: Ian Rutherford
Tourists on the Royal Mile. Pic: Ian Rutherford

The Scottish Government might have done little to encourage the Capital - publicly at least - that it is ready to devolve control over taxation on what is a key driver of the national economy. But this is a long and concerted push which is not going to end any time soon.

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There are two huge pressures driving the campaign forward. The first is the strain which the massive influx of visitors during August and over New Year - effectively doubling the city’s population - puts on the city and its public services, affecting everything from bin collections to crumbling roads.

The second is the growing demands being placed on the cash-squeezed local authority. Put bluntly, it cannot support effectively the city’s cultural life - the festivals, public spaces, and so on, on which our tourist industry relies - and essential services such as care of the elderly.

What is significant about the research released today is that it fairly effectively shoots down the argument that a tourist tax would put visitors off coming to Edinburgh. More than nine out of ten out of more than 500 visitors questioned said a £1 a night charge would not put them off. If anyone believed it before, it is very hard now to argue that the levy would damage our tourist trade.