Levies won’t suit every destination, but they can help make sure that visitors are good news for all, not just the businesses that serve them
Nicola Sturgeon’s speech last Tuesday setting out the Scottish government’s legislative programme for the year ahead confirmed what was already pretty clear. Scottish councils are set to be the first in the UK with the power to levy charges on visitors, with Edinburgh likely to lead the way.
Tourist taxes are not new. The Himayalan kingdom of Bhutan has a longstanding policy of charging visitors a daily fee. France’s taxe de séjour on overnight stays was introduced to assist thermal spa towns to develop, and around half of French local authorities use it today.