William Macleod, Executive Director, BHA Scotland, said;
“Edinburgh City Council is once again showing complete disdain for our industry, which makes a crucial contribution to the promotion of the city and ensures that guests have a great experience. This levy is not just an unwarranted tax on travellers from around the globe, but for any Scot taking a weekend break in the capital, professionals going about their business, and holidaymakers with their families. At its core, this is a tax on UK consumers, who make up 84% of the Scottish tourism economy.
“The idea that a tourism tax in Edinburgh is supported by leading hoteliers is unfounded. This punitive measure will damage the whole industry, not just hotels and other accommodation providers, which makes a massive annual contribution to the Scottish economy of £4.8 billion and employ almost 222,000. Hospitality and tourism are highly price sensitive, and domestic and international visitors have significant destination choice, as do business tourists, event organisers and investors. Tourists in the UK already pay a 20% rate of VAT, which is double the European average. Most European countries recognise the importance of tourism and have a reduced rate of VAT on tourism services. The World Economic Forum currently ranks the UK 135 out of 136 countries in terms of tourism price competitiveness.”
“We look forward to continuing dialogue with Ministers to avoid any such policy which would be extremely damaging to industry competitiveness and harmful to hard-pressed Scottish and UK families.”
A spokesman for the Edinburgh Hotels Association, which represents over 50 hotels, said:
“The council’s allegation that hotels support this tax is incorrect. We do not support this tax, which is damaging for everybody. We love our city and want to make sure that all our visitors, whether from Scotland, the rest of the UK or abroad, love it too. Putting up the price of staying in our capital city as a result of this tax helps no one.”