Scotland considers tourist tax for visitors

Tourists travelling to Scotland could be charged a fee under a potential plan to give local authorities across the country the power to charge a tourist tax.

If the legislation, which was published this week, is passed, councils will be able to add a tax to the cost of an overnight stay.

Edinburgh has said it plans to charge tourists £2 per night on top of the cost of a room for the first week of a stay.

Councils will need to consult local communities, businesses and tourism organisations before implementing the tax.

It could be introduced in 2026 if plans go ahead. Local authorities would have to consult on where the proceeds of the tax would go before introducing it.

The Scottish Government has said that all fees raised from the tax would have to go towards the local community.

This could be spent on improving local facilities and services or enhancing the tourist experience.

Cammy Day, leader of City of Edinburgh Council, said the tax was much needed as Edinburgh’s popularity with tourists “comes at a cost”.

Representatives from the Highland Council also welcomed news of the tax as it has discussed the need for one for years.

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Tourist taxes aren’t common in the UK but are commonplace in other areas of Europe, including in Spain.

Manchester introduced England’s first tourist tax earlier this year, which sees visitors pay a fee on top of the price of an overnight stay.

St Ives has also discussed introducing a tax to help the community cope with the high influx of visitors during summer.

One person ‘Mary Wood’ wrote on Twitter: “SNP introducing tourist tax. They have brought Scotland to its knees, now by introducing a tourist tax it will ruin Scotland’s tourism industry.”

However, many people disagreed with one saying: “Why is a pound or two going to kill Scotland’s tourism industry?”

Another person ‘Lacey’ said: “I doubt a single tourist will stop coming because of a tourist tax. Lots of countries have it.”

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