Scotland visitor levy ‘yet more red tape’ for hospitality

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

UKH warning: Visitor levy could have 'detrimental' impact on Scottish hospitality (Credit: Getty/ CHUNYIP WONG)
UKH warning: Visitor levy could have 'detrimental' impact on Scottish hospitality (Credit: Getty/ CHUNYIP WONG)

Related tags Scotland Legislation Finance ukhospitality

As the Scottish Parliament’s consultation on the proposed visitor levy opens, UKHospitality (UKH) Scotland has urged venues to respond and outline the impact it will have on their business.

The Visitor Levy Bill, published on Thursday morning, will allow local councils to bring in a tourist tax to raise funds for local services.

If passed by MPs, it will give councils the ability to add a tax on overnight accommodation, based on a percentage of the overall costs.

It is estimated that this could cost around £2 a night for tourists in cities like Edinburgh, but councils will have to consults with local communities, businesses and tourism organisations before going ahead with the charge.

UKH Scotland executive director Leon Thompson said the introduction of the visitor levy represented “yet more red tape” being forced upon hospitality, at a time when businesses are under pressure across the board from increasing regulation and rising costs. 

'Detrimental' impact

Local authorities will also have to consult on where the proceeds of the levy will be spent before the tax is introduced officially.

Thompson continued: “I would urge businesses to take the time to respond to the Scottish Parliament's consultation and outline the impact this will have on their businesses and the local tourism economy.

“It’s critical that hospitality’s voice is heard and that politicians understand just how detrimental this levy could be to Scotland’s reputation as a tourist destination."

Robust response

He said: “UKH Scotland will be robustly representing the views of the sector in its response; pointing out the consequences of its introduction on businesses, consumers and Scotland’s global competitiveness.

“We’ll also be stressing the need for ringfencing of funds to be spent on hospitality and tourism, if the levy is introduced as the Scottish Government proposes.

“If that is the unfortunate outcome of this consultation, those funds must be spent effectively to protect and enhance Scotland’s reputation on the world stage.”

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