Susan Morrison: You – yes, you – can help tax tourists

Most tourists wouldn't object to paying a small levy, says Susan Morrison (Picture: Ian Rutherford)
Most tourists wouldn't object to paying a small levy, says Susan Morrison (Picture: Ian Rutherford)
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Years ago, the family had a stop over in San Diego. The next morning, I noticed at the bottom of the bill a line telling me that I was paying a very small extra charge as a tax to the city.

It even told me what it was actually paying for. It was mainly the sort of things that tourists need, such as cleaning up.

I wasn’t bothered at all. In fact, I thought, what a sensible idea. We had breezed into town and used up stuff local people pay for. I didn’t mind forking out a few dollars more.

When the idea was floated here in Edinburgh, I was worried that we could be pricing ourselves out of the tourist market. But San Diego wasn’t cheap, nor are the cities in Europe that already have the levy.

Now Edinburgh council is holding a consultation on the introduction of just such a “tourist tax”, or to use the full Sunday name, the “Transient Visitor Levy”.

READ MORE: Richard Branson: Edinburgh tourist tax could drive visitors to Glasgow

I’m not a fan of the full moniker. “Transient visitor” sounds like the sort of euphemism a middle-class mum at the school gates might use for an outbreak of nits. I’ll overlook that for now.

Just as I didn’t mind paying a little extra to the town that hosted my family for a lovely visit, I suspect many tourists who come here would be equally relaxed about chipping in for the city, but the council really needs to hear from you.

The consultation is online so please, you – yes, you – go and tell them what you think. C’mon, enough crazy stuff goes on in this city without us being asked. This is a chance to get your tuppence in.

READ MORE: Gordon Dewar: Tourist tax shouldn’t just be paid by hotels