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Edinburgh, Scotland
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This Scottish city may soon be introducing a tourist tax

The levy will bring in between £5 million and £35 million a year

Written by
Ellie Muir

Tourist taxes are nothing new in Europe – AustriaBelgium and Venice have all brought in extra charges for visitors. But UK destinations have never come close to implementing such measures – until now. 

Earlier this week, the City of Edinburgh Council approved plans that will see each person taxed £2 for every night they are staying in the capital. This will include everyone staying at paid accommodation in the city, but will exclude campsites. The charge will be capped at seven nights.

The £2-per-night Transient Visitor Levy (TVL) will help fund cleaning and improvements to public areas, transport and a number of other large-scale projects in the city. An official report estimated that the levy will bring in between £5 million and £35 million a year. 

The scheme was first mooted in 2018, when it was backed by 90 percent of Edinburgh’s residents, but it was delayed due to the pandemic. Edinburgh Council has urged the Scottish parliament ‘to bring forward the TVL legislation at the earliest opportunity’, though it could take between 12 and 18 months to fully implement the measures.

Council leader Cammy Day said: ‘Our economic strength has brought us a great deal of success but, without an additional income stream, we will struggle to manage and support this success in the future.

‘That’s precisely why we’ve worked so hard to convince the Scottish government to give us the necessary powers to introduce a visitor lev, or tourist tax. We’ve led the way in Scotland – and the UK – and I’m pleased, at long last, that the city’s hard work has finally paid off.’

It’s expected that legislation will follow in early 2023 that will allow any Scottish city or location to follow Edinburgh’s example. Watch this space.

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