Firms may be willing to contribute

Festivals boss joins call for tourist tax

Julia AmourThe new director of the Edinburgh’s festivals has joined the call for the city to introduce a tourism tax to enable the city to raise money from its big cultural events

Julia Amour said it was “reasonable” to believe that the many businesses that benefit from the annual festivals would be willing to contribute through a levy, such as a bed tax added to hotel room charges.

Councillors and officials Edinburgh have been considering a form of tourist tax for more than a decade to meet the costs of hosting events such as the Edinburgh International Festival, the Fringe, and the Hogmanay celebrations.

Ms Armour’s views follow similar comments from John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, who told Daily Business last November that a festival or bed tax was one option that had to be looked at.

Since then he has called for a tax to be levied on transport, bars and restaurants, as well as hotels, and claims it could generate £10m.

He criticised the Scottish Tourism Alliance for launching a campaign against the possible introduction of a tourist tax.

The STA warned the introduction of a visitor tax could “damage” and “hinder” one of Scotland’s best-performing industries.

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