Two of the UK’s leading city destinations, Edinburgh and Cambridge, are pursuing plans to control visitor numbers.
Edinburgh city council began a city-wide consultation on plans to introduce a tourist tax this week.
Council leaders in Scotland’s capital propose a ‘transient visitor levy’ of £2 (€2.25) a person per night on all forms of accommodation, up to a maximum of £14 (€16) per visitor.
Edinburgh’s online consultation asks residents and businesses what they think of the proposal and how the revenue – estimated at £11 million a year – should be spent.
The consultation is due to last eight weeks.
The council, run by a coalition of Scottish National Party (SNP) and Labour Party representatives, plans a series of workshops with tourism representatives, industry investors and residents to review the proposals.
The Scotsman newspaper reported: “Councillors believe a levy would help deal with increasing resentment among residents irritated by visitors.”
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has described the tax plans as “potentially disastrous”.
The Scottish government, run by a minority SNP administration, has ruled out legislating to allow the tax.
However, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said recently she wants “a national discussion” on the issue.
In a separate move, Cambridge tourism bosses aim to encourage Chinese visitors to visit the city in smaller groups.
Visit Cambridge wants to cut the number of large groups visiting the city, which is increasingly associated with the Harry Potter films, to reduce “any negative impact” and to encourage the use of official guides.
The tourism marketing body also aims to reduce coach congestion in the city.
Visit Cambridge chief executive Emma Thornton told the BBC: “Many visitors, particularly those from China, arrive in large groups – sometimes up to 50.
“It’s a problem if you have 50 people standing in front of King’s College at any one time.”
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