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  1. #11
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    It's anticipated that this will eventually become UK-wide

    Alan

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  3. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by neloon View Post
    It's anticipated that this will eventually become UK-wide

    Alan
    More taxes. Yippee. You do encounter these abroad so I guess it was only a matter of time until our own Lords and Masters thought of doing this.

  4. #13
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    I have been told that such taxes are to help pay for infrastructure used by visitors that are normally paid only by residents. If that is the case then I think the flat rate is probably a better idea, but I do see how it can have a disparate impact on lower cost hotels. However do guests staying at 5 star properties walk harder on sidewalks?

    I am just in the beginning stages of exploring a trip to Scotland, and I can tell you that this tax will not even factor in to if I stay in Edinburgh or not. That will be dictated by other planning factors.

    My city is looking into Air B&B and how we can address it, as someone bought a house and has turned it into what amounts to a hotel. The owners don't live there, they rent out each room, use the mailbox as a key drop, and have impacted local parking shortages when they have multiple guests. This is one of the many ways that technology is surpassing the law. Uber & Lyft are other examples. Way more than I can even contemplate.

  5. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    San Antonio previously had a 16.75% occupancy tax at hotels, but they just added another 1.25% for more money in their coffers. So it's now an 18% tax on hotel guests. Compared to the examples I'm seeing here, the £2 tax in Edinburgh sounds like a bargain.
    Wow, very high! In SF the amount varies by location, and the most expensive I found was this: occupancy tax of 14.195% and a business district fee of: 2.25% for at 16.445% total tax rate. The district fee can be as "low" as 1.5%.

    £2 is indeed a bargain.

    Clan Mackintosh North America / Clan Chattan Association
    Cormack, McIntosh, Gow, Finlayson, Farquar, Waters, Swanson, Ross, Oag, Gilbert, Munro, Turnbough,
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    Wilson, Campbell, Bartlett, Munro - a few of the ancestral names, mainly from the North-east of Scotland




  6. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFS1970 View Post
    I have been told that such taxes are to help pay for infrastructure used by visitors that are normally paid only by residents. If that is the case then I think the flat rate is probably a better idea, but I do see how it can have a disparate impact on lower cost hotels. However do guests staying at 5 star properties walk harder on sidewalks?
    I suspect that the less affluent visitors are more likely to walk the length of the Royal Mile, or take the same form of inexpensive public transportation that the locals do. The more affluent would be more likely to rent a car or take taxis, which not only would place more wear and tear on the infrastructure, but would also create more traffic congestion and parking problems in those locations.

    But there are also additional considerations that the local government may want to take into account. Are 5 star properties replacing historic old buildings? Is local lodging being rented out as AirBnBs, rather than leased as apartments (thereby driving up housing costs for everyone)? Which tourists spend more money locally? When the tourists spend money, is it primarily being used to enrich the local economy, or is it being spent on (cheap/expensive) foreign goods ... which enrich those countries instead?
    Trying to look good on a budget.

  7. #16
    EdinSteve is offline Membership Suspended for repeated rule violations.
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    The big winners from tourism are the multi-national hotels where the profits end up elsewhere but Edinburgh. As far as the local economy goes there is some (low paid) employment, mainly from eastern european immigrants, local property taxes and not much else. Meanwhile the local authority, funded by local residents, is responsible for infrastructure, refuse collection, policing, health and safety, really all the factors that provide a safe and healthy environment for locals and visitors alike. As things stand it seems that local residents pay much of the costs but enjoy none of the benefits (congested streets, standing room only on public transport, over-booked concerts and theatres etc.) so, from a local residentís point of view anything that will curtail the blight of tourism must be a good thing and if a tourist tax mitigates the ever increasing local tax burden then it must be welcomed.

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  9. #17
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    It doesn't seem much, so probably not a big deal. The part I'd find annoying is that the article I read said it was to offset tourists who come only for the day... which doesn't quite seem fair.
    Here's tae us - / Wha's like us - / Damn few - / And they're a' deid - /
    Mair's the pity!

  10. #18
    EdinSteve is offline Membership Suspended for repeated rule violations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katia View Post
    It doesn't seem much, so probably not a big deal. The part I'd find annoying is that the article I read said it was to offset tourists who come only for the day... which doesn't quite seem fair.
    I think Edinburgh is seeing more and more cruise ships visiting nowadays and the majority of their passengers will be the ďonly for the dayĒ tourists. From what business owners in South Queensferry have told me the cruise passengers who come ashore there spend little or nothing locally. I believe Venice, where the tourism problem is many times worse, is installing turnstiles to limit the number of day-trippers but I donít see that happening here 🛳🤯

  11. #19
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    One very early morning recently (suffering from extreme jetlag) I sat on a wall and watched a large cruise ship drop anchor down-river of the Railway Bridge and, within half an hour, disgorge enough passengers to fill the waiting 21 buses. Perhaps two dozen of those off-loaded made a mad dash for the Hawes Inn -- to use the toilets -- and then rushed back to the buses. Their contribution to the economy, at that point, did not include anything for the Hawes Inn or the public toilets down the road, but did include hiring the craft that brought them ashore and the buses collected from a number of firms. I noted that the buses all had numbers and destinations clearly displayed on their windscreens: Stirling Castle, St Andrews, Edinburgh Castle, Royal Mile, Kingdom of Fife, and others. There is probably a moorage charge of which I am unaware and there may even be a 'landing' charge, for all I know. The buses, of course, are licensed, use taxed petrol and are driven by those who are paid wages. The companies owning the buses were all Scottish, as were the tour guides and, presumably, their employers.

    Considering the Edinburgh Castle destination of seven of the buses (my count) and the possible number aboard those buses, I arrived at 224. The buses must pay a fee for day parking sufficiently near to the Castle to enable easy access for their passengers. And each passenger tour price included entry to the Castle: between GBP14 and GBP17, at the time. GBP3300. I didn't see any cases coming ashore, although there were many handbags and small rucksacks, so at least one mid-day meal would have to be purchased at the Castle.

    Nine buses were designated Royal Mile. All of these were smaller than those on their way to the Castle. I estimated 215 passengers. Since the Royal Mile is primarily shops, museums and tourism-oriented sites, I assume that profits were to be made from those folk, too.

    Scotland, as a whole, receives a reported GBP11bn annually from tourism, represented about 4.5 percent of the economy. The vast majority of this is from non-UK visitors, with 1.8 million more from European nations in 2017 than in 2016. That year, the daily spending of the 1.8 increased by 24 percent over 2016. Edinburgh figures for 2017 were not yet available when I made these notes, but in 2015, 3.8 million visited the City, with over 38 percent from outside the UK. Almost all of those must spend at least one night -- about 1.5 million. Edinburgh is reaching for 4.4 million as a total in 2020. It's especially interesting to note that only 15 percent of tourists are booked with inclusive packages, meaning that everything other than 'flights' in are paid post arrival.

    From all of this it is obvious that an accommodation tax is increasingly attractive to government. How accommodation tax is applied varies around the world. In most countries bed and breakfast is a cash business and, although revenue is reported for income tax purposes it is not always required for other forms of taxation. AirBnB, HomeAway and self-catering systems are difficult and costly for local governments to regulate and tax except through licensing. Hotels are easy.

    In many places licensing to provide any form of short-term accommodation is becoming the norm and anything more than three rooms for let is considered a form of commercial operation. That means that local government has greater access to data, and to the ability to levy taxes. Where this knowledge has been gleaned over a long time, it has been found that the greatest tax gain and the most fair system is one based on a percentage of room revenue, rather than flat rates. Depending on the Canton, in Switzerland you can expect to pay an average of GBP2 per person per night; in France the system is based on accommodation quality and standard and ranges from 17p to GBP3.5 per person per night (Paris adds 10 percent on top); in Germany it averages at 5 percent of the bill; Amsterdam is 5.5 percent (soon to increase to 7 percent). In Canada the 5 percent value added tax is charged on all services including accommodation, on top of which there is a Provincial tax (in British Columbia this is between 8 and 10 percent of the bill); one US city has an 18 percent tax on the room price and a flat USD10 on top.

    Not a single one of these taxes has had an adverse effect of tourism.

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  13. #20
    EdinSteve is offline Membership Suspended for repeated rule violations.
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    Thanks for all those figures, Thistledown, and, of course we also have cruise ships docking at Leith and Rosyth. A major attraction is the festival and tattoo during August and this also brings in additional tourist traffic.
    I have no wish to stray into matters best not discussed here but, following the global recession of 2008, austerity measures have placed strains on local finances and the opportunity to raise additional funds by such means as a tourist tax and workplace parking charges might be regarded as a way of circumventing shortfalls in central funding without placing additional tax burdens on local taxpayers.
    Someone once said the only certainties in life are death and taxes and, while we cannot avoid the first the second can be imaginatively re-directed in ways such as this.

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