Video: What is the proposed Edinburgh tourist tax?

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Edinburgh would be the first place in the UK to introduce such a levy, but they are common in major European cities.

The Edinburgh ‘tourist tax’ debate has been rumbling on since it was first raised in 2011. Seven years on, the capital is still without one in place, with Edinburgh City Council looking to Holyrood and Westminster for approval.

The focus group will take place in Edinburgh. Pic: Steven Scott Taylor / J P License

The focus group will take place in Edinburgh. Pic: Steven Scott Taylor / J P License

With the long, drawn-out debate over whether or not a visitor levy would harm tourism or protect the growing sector, it’s easy for the basics to get lost along the way.

Tourist levies are commonplace all across Europe. In Austraia visitors pay the Tourismusgesetz and in Italy it’s the Tassa di soggiorno, but the money from each is generally ringfenced for maintaining and developing public facilities so that tourism can flourish.

In Edinburgh, it has been suggested (though nowhere near finalised) visitors would pay anything between £1 and £4 extra on top of their hotel bill, a sum that would undoubtably increase during peak seasons of the Edinburgh Festivals and Hogmanay.

If an agreement is reached, Edinburgh could be looking at rolling out the levy next spring and have not ruled out attaching the tax to short-term lets popularised by apps like AirBnB.