‘Momentous day’ for Edinburgh’s visitor levy campaign

Thursday May 30th 2024

adam-wilson-Edinburgh

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Council Leader Cammy Day welcomed the Scottish Parliament’s decision to pass the Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill on Tuesday.

Paving the way for a visitor levy for Edinburgh, the Bill will give the Council and other Scottish local authorities the power to introduce a levy as a percentage rate of the accommodation cost for overnight stays.

Final amendments made by MSPs during Tuesday’s stage 3 debate in Holyrood include a requirement to establish a Visitor Levy Forum to support decision making, something the council identified in its 2019 consultation, and an exemption from levies for people in receipt of UK disability benefits.

With these amendments, the much-anticipated legislation is now ready to be submitted for Royal Assent to become enshrined in law.

City of Edinburgh Council Leader, Cammy Day, said:

“We’ve long campaigned to gain these powers for Edinburgh, helping us to reap the rewards of being one of the world’s most popular visitor decisions and generating huge benefits to the city and our residents. So, it’s a momentous day to finally see the Bill pass through Parliament.

“I remain hopeful that we’ll be among the first cities to implement a levy and, while I’m disappointed that the 18-month implementation period remains in place, I do acknowledge the additional preparation time this will provide to the hospitality sector.

“We will, of course, continue to work closely with the sector, Visit Scotland and other partners to develop the scheme in the months and years ahead, ensuring we make the very best of this huge opportunity for our city.

“A small overnight charge is common practice in other major cities and destinations and the introduction of a levy will provide a sustainable funding stream that can support culture in the city and our infrastructure, to the benefit of our visitors and, crucially, the people who live here in our great capital city all year round.”

Edinburgh has long held plans to introduce a charge on overnight visitor stays in the Capital, using the funds raised to benefit the local area and visitor economy. Extensive engagement on the city’s proposals has been carried out, with the results of the most recent council engagement exercise revealing strong support from residents, visitors, and sections of industry.

The Council will continue to engage with industry over the summer before publishing its suggested scheme for councillors to consider in August. This will be based on national guidance being published soon by Visit Scotland, and will be subject to ahead of further public consultation in the Autumn.

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