I NOTE from my records that I first wrote to you in 2019 in support of the introduction of a tourist tax for Scotland, arguing that the application of a charge equivalent to "the cost of a cup of coffee" was practised widely elsewhere and would not act as a deterrent to potential visitors to Scotland.

I note from today’s edition that the Scottish Bed & Breakfast Association is now opposing the introduction of a tourist tax (already approved by the Scottish Parliament) claiming that it would be a "stealth tax" on Scottish tourists ("Tourist tax ‘to take millions from Scots holidaymakers’", The Herald, June 17). Surely regardless of the residence of a tourist he/she will have the same expectations from their chosen holiday destination? They will expect to stay in accommodation that has been properly regulated; that there will be a decent public transport system; that streets will be maintained and cleaned regularly; that there are public toilets accessible for the disabled; that traffic is managed with public parking spaces available; that there are attractive places of cultural and historical interest run by the local authority with exhibits that are responsibly curated and displayed. All of these public services have to paid for regardless of where the visitor comes from. At present it is the local citizens who are having to pick up the considerable costs of supporting the welcome influx of visitors. Having made this point, it is surely perfectly feasible for any tourist tax to be adjusted or indeed waived for visitors from elsewhere in Scotland. However, there is absolutely no excuse for further delay in raising additional funds for our hard-pressed local authorities.

Finally, it has taken Scotland years to have reached the point when at last a Scottish tourist tax is to be introduced. I must though admit to some frustration seeing the 200,000 Taylor Swift fans here in Edinburgh last weekend enjoying three memorable concerts. Imagine if those visiting the capital for the shows had been charged the cost of that cup of coffee?

Eric Melvin, Edinburgh.

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• THE claim that a tourist tax would "take millions from Scots holidaymakers" is clearly absurd. A child could see through it.

If a council needs to repair potholes or provide public toilets, the money has to come from somewhere: if not a tourist tax then it would come from council tax. Clearly, every pound raised from a visitor levy means one pound less from council tax. On that basis, it would be just as valid to claim that the tourist tax would save Scots households millions.

Actually, it's better than that. According to Visit Scotland's estimates, 75% of the income from a tourist tax would come from visitors from outside Scotland, which means that foreign tourists would actually be subsidising Scots taxpayers to the tune of £106 million per year (based on 2023 figures).

There may or may not be valid arguments against a tourist tax, but to claim that it is a "stealth tax" on Scots holidaymakers is nothing less than blatant scaremongering.

Mike Lewis, Edinburgh.

• I AM gobsmacked by the suggestion of a new tourist tax when those of us who run holidays lets and B&Bs are still reeling from the sizeable recently-introduced expense of having to get short-term let licences.

Like everyone else we have had to absorb the rising cost of energy plus all the cleaning and decorating materials needed to maintain an attractive establishment, while trying to keep prices competitive enough to compete with overseas holidays. A lot of micro hospitality businesses have already decided it is no longer worth the effort, which is a shame for other local businesses such as pubs, restaurants, and shops which benefit from holiday visitors to their area. I fear a tourist tax will drive many more to conclude it is no longer worth the considerable effort.

Fiona Robertson, Kippen.

It's townies who back wind turbines

GETTING electricity from windmills is not the fresh and clean joy that many imagine. It is an industry, and comes with industrial downsides aplenty... overhead cables, tall pylons, and huge sub-stations. Plus earthworks, concrete, and access roads.

The windmills themselves are just part of the package. Country landscapes are ruined.

Is it a coincidence that those who support wind power tend to live in towns, where they will never see or, worse, have to live with the destruction of our beautiful country?

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.

Dour Flower

AHEAD of the opening match of the Euros on Friday, one of the ITV commentators described that miserable, tuneless dirge Flower of Scotland as Scotland’s national anthem, which of course it isn’t and please God, never will be.

Stuart Neville, Clydebank.

Best clock the Swiss

IN the film The Third Man, Orson Welles' character Harry Lime said: “In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

Welles recalled: “When the picture came out, the Swiss very nicely pointed out to me that they’ve never made any cuckoo clocks: they all come from the Schwarzwald in Bavaria.”

The Scotland team should therefore beware lest the German-speaking Swiss, with an imported timepiece in a saddlebag, encourage an interloper on a BMW motorbike a la Steve McQueen jumping the wire. As I recall that did not go down too well, inasmuch as the perpetrator ended up in the cooler.

Let the Scottish Mannschaft prevail.

Ronald H Oliver, Elie.

Orson Welles as Harry Lime in The Third ManOrson Welles as Harry Lime in The Third Man (Image: Rialto Pictures)

Let the whimsical get one across

CLUE 3 down in the The Herald crossword of 12 June 12, was "Limb, I believe, holding drink". Answer: "Imbibe".

The first word that occurred to me - and which I promptly rejected as inappropriate for a crossword in an august journal - was "Disarm", (as distinct from dat arm - geddit?) which contains the anagram "dram".

This prompts me to wonder if, just as you have a double crossword to be filled using either cryptic or quick clues, you might consider providing one to be completed with either sensible or whimsical answers.

It would be tricky, but how compilers do what they regularly do even now - albeit using words like emu and stye - baffles me.

Robin Dow, Rothesay.