Edinburgh One Step Closer to Introducing a Tourist Tax

Feb 9, 2019

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Edinburgh’s City Council recently voted in favor of a new overnight tourist tax that will help the city to combat the effects of overtourism. Soon, visitors may have to pay a £2 ($2.60) fee for each day they spend in the city.

The introduction of the tax doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise considering the high number of tourists that come through the city each year. According to Edinburgh’s government website, between 2015 and 2017, Edinburgh saw an annual average of 1,749,200 overseas visitors — that’s the highest in the UK.

The tax, known more formally as Transient Visitor Levy (TVL), passed through the City Council by a margin of 43 to 15. Now, the TVL must be next approved by the Scottish Parliament for it to be enacted.

A brief that Edinburgh’s government website posted explains its reasoning behind the tax: “The council has taken the view that an Edinburgh TVL is necessary and an appropriate way to secure future investment in the tourism industry and, in order to support the council to manage the impact of that success upon our services,” reads the brief.

The £2 fee only applies to those who stay in Edinburgh overnight in a hotel or bed and breakfast, so those who decide to camp are exempt. It applies every day up to a week, so if tourists stay for more than seven days, they won’t have to pay more than £14 total.

Edinburgh is not the only city that’s introducing a tourist tax. Venice is passing a new day tax for tourists in hopes of limiting the overwhelming number of tourists that enter the city. Regardless if travelers are staying overnight, they’ll have to pay the “disembarkment tax” associated with visiting the city.

H/T: CNN Travel

Featured image by Isabel Pavia/Getty Images. 

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