By Scott Wright

A FRESH call has been made for local authorities to abandon plans to introduce a “tourist tax” amid fears it could hamper the sector’s recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

The tourism industry has been hit heavily by the lockdown imposed to halt the spread of the coronavirus, with major hotel companies moving to consult staff on hundreds of redundancies after trade came to a standstill. But there has been more positive news in recent days as the Scottish Government has eased lockdown conditions.

Property firm Colliers International says introducing a tourist tax, typically a surcharge on hotel stays, would slow the sector’s recovery, citing a new study that suggests the hotel sectors in Glasgow and Edinburgh would be among the slowest to bounce back in the UK.

READ MORE: Opinion: Scott Wright: Tax cut would give Scottish hospitality industry much-needed shot in the arm

Colliers’ first COVID-19 Recovery Hotels Index ranks both Edinburgh and Glasgow in the bottom 10 of 35 destinations on recovery rates. Glasgow was tied with Manchester at 27, with Edinburgh at number 30. Colliers suggests the slow recovery anticipated in Edinburgh reflects its reliance on the conference market, which has been wiped out by the crisis. The firm’s Marc Finney said a tourist tax “would inevitably slow Scotland’s recovery”.