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This UK city will be the first to introduce a tourist tax

But is it coming at the right time?

Edinburgh will become the first city in the UK to introduce a tourist tax as Scotland’s capital tries to better manage its booming tourism industry. 



With an average 1.75 million annual foreign visitors between 2015 and 2017, Edinburgh is Britain’s second most popular tourist city after London. 


Its 83.7% hotel occupancy was also the highest among British cities in 2017. 


With this in mind, the city council said it would use the tax revenue “to improve facilities and better manage the city”, Reuters reported. 


However a council survey found that only half (51%) of accommodation businesses backed the proposal, which would see visitors pay two pounds (less than AU$4) per room per night.


“This isn’t the right time for a new tax and more bureaucracy for small businesses,” Federation of Small Businesses head Garry Clark tweeted.


While other European cities such as Barcelona and Rome have introduced tourist taxes, and many more consider them, hotel associations in Edinburgh are worried about the impact an extra levy would have at an economically sensitive time. 


As well as huge international visitor numbers, the city welcomes many domestic travellers, especially during its August summer festivals, which last year alone attracted three million people. 


Would Edinburgh’s tourist tax deter you from visiting the city?


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 8 February 2019

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