Plans for a £2 per night tourist tax in Edinburgh have won overwhelming backing in a public consultation.
Figures show that 85% backed the levy including 51% of accommodation providers.
The eight-week City of Edinburgh Council poll received more than 2,500 responses into the proposed Transient Visitor Levy (TVL) of either 2% or £2 per room per night.
It is estimated that this model could raise between £11.6 million and £14.6 million a year.
The majority of respondents (72%) agree that the tax should be set at a rate of around £2 a night or 2% of the cost of accommodation, while 19% felt this was too low.
Most respondents (47%) prefer the option of a flat ‘pound per night, per room’ rate but a high number (38%) would rather see a charge introduced which is based on the percentage of the room fee.
A total of 81% of respondents want to see at least a seven-day cap on charges to help protect Edinburgh Festival performers and other non-leisure visitors.
Respondents agreed with council objectives of supporting sustainable investment in tourism and managing the impact of tourism on the city and its residents.
A final proposal on how the council hopes to take forward the proposal will now be developed for elected member approval in February, before being passed to the Scottish government as it considers its position on the legal framework for a TVL.
Council leader Adam McVey, said: “Once again, we are finding that there is a huge swell of support for a tourist tax in Edinburgh with residents and all types of business backing a scheme that is fair, sustainable and one which would be reinvested into the ongoing success of our tourism and hospitality industry and the services which matter most to local people.
“Edinburgh welcomes over four and a half million visitors annually, spending over £1.8 billion. Our tourist economy is extremely strong and expected to continue to grow.
“A majority of businesses agree the vibrancy of our industry wouldn’t be threatened by a small levy but would benefit from the additional investment.
“Interestingly, this includes more than half of accommodation providers, dispelling fears in certain quarters that the industry wouldn’t support a TVL.
“As a council, we have a strong track record of investing in and supporting our cultural offering and heritage – but as the demands on our city increase, we will need a secure additional source of funding to sustainably invest in and manage the impact of this growth.
“Ninety one per cent of Edinburgh residents back our plans because they know it will help us better manage the pressures in the city and help protect their environment. We stand with residents in our support for a tourist levy for the good of our capital.”
John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, added: “Combined with Marketing Edinburgh’s own independent research – which found that 88% of summer visitors would still come to Edinburgh if a £2 per room, per night charge were in place and that 59% of residents are in favour – the results are conclusive.
“A transient visitor levy is a widely supported means of keeping the city at its best for residents, visitors and businesses alike.
“There is a real need to manage our success as a leading destination, and with transient visitor levies used to great effect throughout the world, it’s encouraging that the public welcome the City of Edinburgh Council’s plans to help secure sustainable investment in Edinburgh’s growing tourism industry.”
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