Euan McGrory: Tourists are happy with an Edinburgh tourist tax

Tourists on the Royal Mile. Pic: Ian Rutherford
Tourists on the Royal Mile. Pic: Ian Rutherford
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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.

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.

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.