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News & Press: General

Tourist Tax will make Edinburgh the most expensive city to visit in Europe ​

25 January 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Chris Banks
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Edinburgh is in danger of becoming the most expensive destination in Europe according to evidence submitted today by UK Hospitality (UKH), to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Transient Visitor Levy (TVL). 


The hospitality industry remains opposed to the tax and the introduction of a TVL will make the country less competitive and make the tourism market one of the highest taxed globally. According to the World Economic Forum, the UK currently ranks 135th in terms of overall price-competitiveness. With the introduction of a TVL, Edinburgh will become the most expensive city to visit in Europe, well above the likes of Paris, London and Rome.  


Willie MacLeod, Executive Director, Scotland for UK Hospitality said: “A TVL could be a disaster for the tourism industry in Edinburgh and across Scotland. The introduction of a £2 per room, per night tax will cost the economy between £175m – £200m per annum. At this a time of great economic and political uncertainty, much needed jobs, tax revenues and investment will be put at risk.”


UKH has been represented at each of the Scotland-wide round-table sessions held by the Scottish Government, as part of this discussion and has made its views clearly known.


Willie MacLeod added: “Our members, who represent the majority of people in the hospitality and accommodation sector, remain opposed to the introduction of any additional tax on visitors. Instead, the Scottish Government and local authorities should continue to work with the industry, to expand the sector and secure further jobs and investment.


“UKH member businesses have invested significantly in Scotland, employ tens of thousands of people and cater for millions of overnight guests each year, contributing to the vibrancy and range of services available in our town and city centres.”




It is estimated that the introduction of a TVL would to lead to a reduction in accommodation turnover on Scotland of £128m per annum and an overall negative impact of £191m per annum. Data collected by STR Global in 2018 showed that 15% of Edinburgh visitors would reduce their spending as a result of the tax, 5% would stay outside the city and 2% would not visit at all. This change in behaviour is estimated to result in a total decline in visitor spend in Edinburgh of £94m per annum. If mirrored across Scotland as a whole, it could result in a decrease in visitor spend of £205m per annum.




Note to Editors

According to Office of National Statistics, the accommodation sector generates turnover in Scotland of £2.7bn, supports 50,000 jobs and contributes £720m annually in tax by way of VAT.  The overall value of tourism to the Scottish economy is well recognised – 207,000 jobs, £5.3bn direct expenditure by 14.9m overnight visitors.


UKH's position represents the views of 700-member businesses operating 70,000 outlets throughout the UK and is endorsed by the Board of UKH, the organisation’s Committee for Scotland, Scotland’s four city hotel associations, member businesses (including independent operators and large national and international chains) which have invested in Scotland.

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