With this Edinburgh City will become the first in the UK to charge the levy that could potentially earn it £3.2 million for advertising, branding and marketing the city. Some of the funds raised would be spent on the maintenance of its World Heritage Site status. Guests staying in larger hotels are expected to pay the 2% fee, also known as a transient guest tax, on top of their room and VAT charges in Edinburgh City Council’s proposal to the Scottish Government’s Independent Budget Review. Last year there about 1.8 million people visited the festival.
The idea was first mooted in 2006, in the Scottish Arts Council’s Thundering Hooves report as a means of funding the capital’s festivals. The idea was given another boost by Edinburgh City Council leader Jenny Dawe in 2008, and MSP Margo MacDonald supports the idea. A 2% levy is in place in Vancouver and Montreal, while some American cities charge people as much as 9%.
However, there are rising fears also in place that it might hurt Edinburgh’s ability to compete with the likes of Dublin and Paris as a leading European destination. The future of the festivals depend on Edinburgh remaining as an attractive destination for visitors from home and abroad.
The proposal comes at a time when hotel room rates in most UK cities are falling. Latest figures from travel service show a 4% reduction in the cost of hotel rooms in both Edinburgh and Glasgow for the first half of the year. The average room rate in Edinburgh in 2009, was £91.87, making it cheaper than London, Manchester, Newcastle and Aberdeen. Meanwhile, Edinburgh streets were filled with more than 100,000 people to see the annual Edinburgh Festivals’ Cavalcade yesterday.
News Source: BBC