Tourist hotel tax proposed in Edinburgh

Hotel News - 08/12/2011

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An in-principle agreement has been reached by members of the Edinburgh City Council for a plan to charge hotel guests an extra £1 to £2 per night on top of normal rates and fees. Proponents say the scheme could bring the city an additional £10 million in revenues each year.

If the measure is approved, Edinburgh will be the UK’s first location to charge such a levy on hotel stays.

Those in favour of the plan argued on Wednesday that many places in Europe, the United States and Canada already take advantage of such taxes. And Green councillor Steve Burgess said that the implementation of the levy was not likely to cause any major effects in the industry or discourage tourism in Edinburgh.

However, the Edinburgh Hotel Association argued that the scheme would be unfair to local hotel firms because they would be the only businesses affected by tourist tax.

Colin Paton, chairman of Edinburgh-based Portland Hotels, said that the move could disadvantage the city from its competitors. He told the council that Edinburgh hotel properties had thus far been able to remain resilient despite recent economic turmoil and that now was not a time to kill “the goose that lays the golden eggs”.

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