Scotland puts forward plan for tourist tax on accommodation

Legislation to enable councils to impose a tax on overnight stays by tourists to Scotland has been introduced.

If passed by the Scottish parliament, the visitor levy bill will give councils the power to apply a levy on stays in overnight accommodation based on a percentage of the cost of the stay.

The Scottish government insists that all money raised would have to be reinvested locally on facilities and services “substantially for or used” by visitors, “enhancing the tourist experience and benefiting local communities and their economies”.

The tax would apply to almost all types of overnight accommodation, including hotels, self-catering accommodation and campsites. 

The levy would be a percentage of the overnight accommodation cost with the rate set by the local council.

An expert advisory group, facilitated by VisitScotland, will bring together tourism industry bodes and local government to discuss how best any visitor levy can be implemented and to develop national guidance for local authorities, according to the planned legislation.

Under the plans, councils would be required to consult communities, businesses and tourism organisations before putting a visitor levy in place. They would also have to consult on how any revenue raised should be spent.

Public finance minister Tom Arthur said: “Scotland is already a very popular tourist destination and the domestic and international visitors we welcome every year have a significant and positive impact on the Scottish economy. 

“Giving councils the power to introduce a visitor levy is one tool that will provide additional resources to continue to attract visitors to Scotland.

“Levies on visitors staying in paid-for accommodation are already used around the world and it is reasonable for local areas to want a small contribution from tourists to help support and sustain visitor economies.”

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) has backed the move.

Resources spokesperson Katie Hagmann said: “Cosla welcomes the Scottish government’s move to give councils the power to apply a visitor levy.

“Cosla has consistently called for the ability of councils to set and raise taxes based on what is needed and decided locally. 

“By providing each local authority with the power to set a rate charged to visitors, and to do so independently of the Scottish government, the local visitor levy empowers local decision-making, with councils able to respond to the needs of their area and the people who live there.”

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Travel Booking Online