City takes on Airbnb issue
Edinburgh Council outlines plan for short-term lets
The council wants to balance the needs of locals and tourists (pic: Terry Murden)
Edinburgh Council will publish a report next week on tackling controversial short-term lets as part of a new policy aimed at balancing the needs of residents and visitors.
It will detail what the council is doing to combat the issue which has prompted a backlash from residents angered by visitors using services such as Airbnb and swamping local neighbourhoods.
The council backs a regulatory system and the Scottish government has launched a consultation exercise. It has also made its case to the government for a new tourist tax.
The tourism policy will emphasise the need for Edinburgh to make more of its role as a gateway to the city region and the rest of Scotland. It will help shape Edinburgh’s new Tourism Strategy which is being developed in partnership with Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG).
Council Leader Adam McVey, pictured, said: “While we can feel proud of our world-class status and our city’s ever-growing popularity, we must also recognise and address the pressure on our core services and on residents. We have a responsibility to manage that impact while promoting the jobs and cultural opportunities that tourism provides.
“We’ve already done a huge amount of work with the Scottish Government to bring in new legislation to protect the vibrant and distinctive character of the city that we all know and love. To help us protect the needs of our residents and continue to offer visitors the best possible experience we can we’ve made our case to the Scottish Government for a tourist levy.
“We’re also working with the Scottish Government on the introduction of a regulatory system for short term lets to help us deal with the impact this is having on our communities, which the Government are now taking forward through a consultation.
“Tourism is having a very positive impact on our economy providing 35,000 jobs and contributing over £1.5bn to the economy each year. To enhance skills and pay in the sector we are working with the industry at key locations such as Edinburgh St James to create skills academies to drive up the demand for skilled, long term jobs and help residents build careers in the industry.
“We want to see everyone sharing in Edinburgh’s success, and get the balance right between the tourism economy and the city as a whole.”