CASH raised by Edinburgh’s proposed tourist tax should be “ring-fenced” for historic conservation, heritage groups have said.
Nicholas Hotham of Edinburgh World Heritage said the Capital could follow the example of Milan which holds revenue from its tourist tax separately from other city budgets and uses it for heritage conservation, as well as supporting arts and culture.
Mr Hotham said: “The thinking is that these are the things that make the city attractive to visitors, so they must be supported and properly funded.
“We would encourage a ring-fenced approach to the introduction of the tax in Edinburgh too. Some of the revenue will need to be used for improving services which come under strain due to the influx of visitors during the peak season, but some should also be spent on conserving the city’s extraordinary buildings, parks, and public spaces, some of which are in a poor state.”
Terry Levinthal, director of the Cockburn Association, said his organisation backed a tourist tax if the income was used to support “the things tourists come to Edinburgh to enjoy”.
He said: “People come to experience historic buildings and the historic landscape. We should use the revenue to deal wit maintenance issues.”
The Scottish Government consultation on allowing councils to introduce a tourist tax says money raised should be spent on “tourism related activities including responding to tourism pressures”. And it accepts this could mean extra street cleaning, additional road maintenance or extra funding for local destination promotion or a local tourism strategy.