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
Edinburgh has enough reasons to cheer as it wound up the recession hit year of 2009 on a bright note as it was rated as the second best tourist spot after London. More than 80% of the hotel rooms in Edinburgh were sold out by November, which placed it well ahead of some of the other popular UK destinations including Liverpool and Cardiff. The average value of rooms sold in Edinburgh was also the second-highest in Britain, at £69.79 against London, which topped the list at £102.76 a room.
Edinburgh hotels recorded a steady increase beating the national trend of occupancy slump in many places across Scotland and England. The high profile Nato conference in Edinburgh held in November immensely benefited the hospitality industry of Edinburgh when most of the hotel rooms went up for grabs for several days together.
According to a survey conducted by PKF, a business and accountancy firm, Edinburgh had an exceptionally good year last year when it outperformed the rest of the country except London, which hit the first spot. The month of December has always been strong in Edinburgh thanks to the festive season of Christmas and Hogmanay festival, which draws scores of revelers from far and wide. 2009 also saw an exceptional phenomenon when most of the people chose to stay close to their homes due to the grounding of the Scottish airlines, which interfered with their overseas holiday plans. Edinburgh hopes to keep up the tempo of a good tourist season this year too as new hotels are being added to its already impressive list and old ones getting spruced up to attract more customers.
Research based on 13,000 hotel reviews has placed Edinburgh hotels at the top of the UK’s hotels in the eyes of visitors who write reviews on the Internet.
It is not all good news as Edinburgh could only manage 27th but hoteliers will be happy as London only managed 75th in the list.
Top of the list is The Howard Hotel but many of the top ten are guesthouses and small hotels at cheaper rates.
In Edinburgh as a whole hotel rates have been falling – lets see if reputations improve as they do.