Scottish Government rules out ‘tourist tax’ measures

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) secured a major victory today (21 December) as the Scottish Government confirmed that any plans for a ‘tourist tax’ in Edinburgh – or any other Scottish cities – are firmly off the table. The BHA has been campaigning consistently for over six years against the implementation of any such additional and uncompetitive tax and is delighted that the Scottish Government has recognised our reservations.

This comes in the wake of proposals from Edinburgh City Council and other local authorities in Scotland to explore the viability of such a tax on visitors, typically charged on a nightly basis for anyone staying overnight. The Scottish Government, though, has rebutted any such plans by declining to devolve the necessary taxation powers to local councils.

The BHA is delighted that the Scottish Government has recognised the immense contribution of the hospitality and tourism industry to Scotland, and we look forward to working with them further to ensure that it remains a fantastic place to visit.

Willie Macleod, Executive Director, BHA Scotland, said:

“The Scottish Government’s firm commitment today to rule out a ‘tourist tax’ is fantastic news for our members, but most importantly for all visitors to the country. Proposals for a ‘tourist tax’ – such as those from Edinburgh City Council – would have resulted in an unfair charge levied indiscriminately on all consumers simply wanting to enjoy an overnight stay in Edinburgh.

“We strongly welcome the Government’s decision and look forward to working further to ensure that the voice of hospitality is heard in Scotland and across the UK as a whole.”

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