Conference News March 2019 - Page 29

29 Taxation Below: Kate Nicholls, CEO, UKHospitality those who live here? A tourist tax is a proven model.” Cuts cause concern To complicate matters further, Edinburgh City Council has more recently announced a proposed 89% cut to Edinburgh’s marketing budget over the course of the next two years. The council’s promotion of the tourist tax as a means to fund marketing in Edinburgh seems at odds with its proposal to cut the city’s marketing budget by such an enormous amount. Trade association UKinbound urged the council to reconsider the proposal at its recent annual convention. And Donnelly, who advocates for the tax, has understandably come out against the cut. He commented: “[The 89% cut] would have serious consequences for the city’s economy. “Without a body that unites public and private sectors in the city’s promotion and economic development, we will severely compromise the city’s ability to attract talent, conferences, business and visitors.” Speaking in support of Convention Edinburgh, the business tourism arm of Marketing Edinburgh, leaders from across fields including medical sciences, paediatrics, ecology and “Tourism minister Michael Ellis said he would not be giving councils the authority to implement a tourism tax.” data sciences, have voiced their concern that the cuts would not only damage the city’s future as a superior conference and meeting destination, but the ‘world-leading academic ecosystem’ Edinburgh is renowned for. The debate over the TVL in Scotland is finely poised. There are big players on both sides, many with conflicting interests, and there are also some big players in the middle, adopting a neutral stance while the debate rages on around them. CN can’t help but wonder if the proposed 89% budget cut will tip the scale in favour of those against TVL. It certainly seems to suggest that a bed tax in Edinburgh is not devised solely to offer a financial boost to the city’s marketing power. Rather, it seems to be intended to get tourists to pay for that power, while the council spends its budget elsewhere. Whether or not the council can retain support for a bed tax even in the wake of the proposed cut remains to be seen. According to UKinbound, however, the implementation of this tax would make Edinburgh the most expensive city in Europe. ELEVATING VENUES ACROSS THE UK BASED ON THEIR UNIQUENESS, EXCELLENCE & HOSPITALITY Headline Sponsor 2018 Winner of Best External Space Winner of Best Small Boardroom / Meeting Space www.conference-news.co.uk Enter the CHS Awards today! CHSAWARDS.CO.UK