Edinburgh — second most-visited in the UK after London — will be the first city in Britain to introduce a tourism levy. The tax will constitute a 2-pound ($2.60) per room per night payment and will be used to "improve facilities and better manage the city," according to the council.
In a statement shared with Sputnik, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) referred to research results showing opposition among small businesses to the introduction of the new measure (76%). At the same time 73% see it having a negative impact on the local economy.
Following the example of Barcelona and Rome was not backed by FSB leaders in Scotland.
"This is a wake-up call for the City of Edinburgh Council, signalling that its plans to introduce a tourism tax in the city are unwanted and potentially damaging…If we tax tourists out of Edinburgh, then we risk taxing them out of Scotland, damaging the prospects of small local businesses throughout Scotland and threatening jobs," Janet Torley, FSB Area Leader for the East of Scotland, said.
According to FSB, visitors spend £1.46 billion each year in Edinburgh, supporting around 34,800 jobs.
The Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), Marc Crothall, called the tax "counterproductive" and "potentially devastating" in the long-term.
In comparison, Italy's capital charges visitors 4.00 euros per person per night for 2 and 3 star hotels, 6.00 euros per person per night for 4 star hotels and 7.00 euros per person per night for 5 star hotels. Barcelona has tourists pay 0.75 euro (3 star hotels), 1.25 euro (4 star hotels) and 2.5 euro (5 star hotels).