FIGURES released by Edinburgh Coucil claiming strong public and business support for a tourist tax in the capital have been questioned by an industry body which says the council is being “ambiguous” with its claims.

Marc Crothall, of the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), said more transparency was required around the results of a council survey which received more than 2500 responses to an eight-week public consultation. The results revealed that 85% of respondents expressed strong support for the introduction of a Transient Visitor Levy (TVL ) or tourist tax envisaged as £2 per room per night or 2% of the price of a room per night.

The council said this figure “includes a majority of Edinburgh-based businesses and accommodation providers”.

Crothall said: “The results of the recent tourism tax consultation is, in our view, ambiguous in its claims – specifically with reference to the ‘significant’ support from accommodation providers in Edinburgh.

“Just 17% were from all businesses types, both within and outside Edinburgh, which is very low considering the importance of the tourism economy, and only 7% of these were from Edinburgh accommodation providers.”

He added: “78% of respondents were from Edinburgh residents and just 3% were tourists.”

The consultation invited the public to feedback on the council’s draft proposals which suggest a charge of either 2% or £2 per room per night, chargeable all year round on all forms of accommodation, including short-term lets but capped at seven nights.

It is estimated that this model could raise between £11.6 million and £14.6m per year.

The council stated: “A final proposal on how the council hopes to take forward a TVL scheme will now be developed for elected member approval in February, before being passed to the Scottish Government as it considers its position on the legal framework for a TVL.”

Council Leader Adam McVey, said: “Once again, we are finding that there is a huge swell of support for a tourist tax in Edinburgh with residents and all types of business backing a scheme that is fair, sustainable and one which would be reinvested into the ongoing success of our tourism and hospitality industry and the services which matter most to local people.”

Cosla President, Alison Evison, commented: “This is important news and certainly strengthens the case for the introduction of a local tax.

“This is hard evidence from a consultation that shows an overwhelming appreciation of the potential benefits of such a tax.”