Requirement to consult on the introduction of a Visitor Levy

Requirement to consult on the introduction of a Visitor Levy

The Bill says that before making or changing a Visitor Levy scheme, the local authority has to carry out a consultation. They would need to share a plan of the proposed scheme and explain what it aims to do. They would also need to talk to and get opinions from people who represent communities, tourist organisations, businesses involved in tourism, and others who might be affected by the scheme. After the consultation, the local authority has to summarise the opinions they received and decide if they want to go ahead with the scheme. Local authorities would also need to publish annual reports (with the first coming 18 months after a scheme had been introduced) setting out the amount of money that had been collected, how those funds had been used, and how a scheme has performed against the objectives set out for it. If you agree with this proposal, rate it up (👍), if you disagree, rate it down (👎). Please tell us why you agree or disagree using the comment boxes below.


This is a huge amount of work for local authorities that have faced massive cuts for the last 15 years. If this work is to be self-financing then they will need to create a higher to cover these costs. This is on no one's interest. It would be simpler all round if they were just tasked with implementing a flat rate visitor tax. Scottish Government seems to want this tax so why are they pushing it down to local authorities.... avoidance of criticism perhaps?? Many EU countries have a simple flat rate that is easy to calculate, collect and monitor. Why does Scotland need to make it so complicated?

Local authorities have enough ground to cover already. If the central Scottish government wish to put money where their mouth is and know exactly what this is going to achieve, how much will be raised and where it will be spent and can publish detailed outcomes , then they should directly set up then manage the scheme year on year.

The administration is disporportionate - consultation is taking place nationally and a simple clear scheme across Scotland would remove the need for consolation. Reporting requirements should be minimal.

i have looked at many of the people who agree and funny many mention road repairs that's not what a tourist tax is for. All the parking that used to be free in our area is all chargeable, they want people out for their mental health benefits but pay. Where does that money go? Does the local council put that back into the area. Yes also a huge burden for local councils to collect staff is an issue as it is. Collect at the airports, ferry terminals with a United Kingdom that way all tourists coming in by camper van etc pay.

we consider we do things democratically. However, this shouldn't turn into a major industry that consumes most of the levy that it raises.

will the local authority make the correct decisions? they should be accountable as to how it is spent, and it should benefit the visitors and locals

Feedback, local consultation and the ability to lobby by industry bodies such as the ASSC is vital. Income details and transparent spending plans are vital to keeping everyone on board and positive about the scheme.

the needs of each local authority in regard to tourism are quite dfferent: it is important that local needs are addressed. One size does not fit all! As for the reporting etc: some form of accountability is essential if such a scheme is to work. I am very much in favour.

This places a costly and time consuming administrative burden on local authorities. The Scottish Government is undertaking this consultation nationally and therefore that should suffice

Councils must run a consultation however they will not do it effectively as they do not want people’s opinion but for the rubber stamp to say they have ‘consulted’. Consultations should be well advertised, people given plenty of notice and made accessible to as many as possible to actually gain public opinion

Of course the government and local authority should consult the public and tourism sector. Unlike the new Scottish government tourism accommodation legislation that they brought in without consulting and even now some providers haven’t heard about/don’t know about it.

It's all just too administrative at a time when there just isn't the resource to do so.

I agree with a Visitor Levy and people should be able to understand where the money collected has been spent.

They should be required to consult because it affects business's viability which in turn affects the whole population of the area.

For this levy to be effective and popular there needs to be a clear line between every pound raised and every pound spent so local councillors/authorities can be held accountable for the spend. Local authorities should also consult annually on projects etc that could be undertaken so local voices are heard on what and where a portion of the funds are spent in my opinion.

Local Authorities will find a way to bypass consultation to implement what they want, they always do.

The local council might find we already have ways to raise specific funds for local - and only local - use

It is important the this is not implemented without proper involvement and consultation of all stakeholders involved to avoid another DRR disaster. The levy is unwelcome for Scotland's economy in a cost of living crisis where businesses are still struggling and many businesses remain boarded up after the pandemic.

They need to consult because each area has its own problems and their are many pros for this levy. But also many reasons why it should not apply to various groupings of accommodation providers

local authorities are so stretched anyway. They already have the new burden that STL is creating and certainly don't need any more ill thought out legislation.

Public consultation is required so that there is knowledge of the impact tourists have on the area and local authorities require to be accountable for how they spend the visitor levy money.

It would have been a great idea but with the short term let’s license fiasco there will be few tourists coming to Scotland.

money will end up going on vanity projects to fill in the report instead of useful things like affordable housing for workers

I disagree with the whole concept of the bill; and on past experience I do not believe that the Highland Council is capable of consulting or listening to people in rural areas and acting on the feedback received. The Highland Council appears to be controlled by people with an urban, profit-driven agenda. If the levy is to be introduced at all, it must include the drive through tourist and support the local accommodation provider. It must also be under the local control of community councils and spent on community needs.

Some local authorities are particularly bad at consultation - which can result in bad policies being brought in which then either don't work as intended or can be challenged legally. The industry should ALWAYS be consulted - after all they are the experts in wshat they do.

Disagree with this levy as once it is applied by the local authority history shows it is very hard to decipher clearly where money is spent. Levy funds must be legally ring fenced and local authorities cannot be permitted to spend these funds for general expenditure.

Part of the Scottish Government guidance to councils over the short term let licencing scheme was to 'provide clear and transparent criteria' for charging different types of licences to different applicants. There is no explanation anywhere coming out of Edinburgh council or on their website about why they are charging so much more than any other council or why their licences for SLs run only for 1 year, where it's 3 years everywhere else. What hope do we have that Edinburgh Council will be transparent over the visitor levy?

The council needs to address the problems being experienced by teh communities - they must consult on where to focus,

I think the money raised should be used to ensure mess left by tourists is cleaned up by those in authority not local residents

There must be strict national guidance on what the council is required to do. Heavy penalties must be applied to Council's that do not follow the national guidance.

Unfortunately this will be like the consultation on the Short Term Let Licence they consulted but did not listen to anyone

My experience to date with consultation exercises, which I have participated in, is that they do not work. So whilst my experience to date is to vote against, my natural tendency to support democracy is to support this. However I would like to see checks and balances put in place which would prevent subversive pressure groups controlling the agenda. Alternative is for our elected represetatives to meet with representatives from all sides of the spectrum and formulate an unbiased policy based on those conversations.

There should be a wide consultation before the Visitor Levy is introduced and everyone who works within the tourist industry here, plus local residents in tourist areas, should be consulted.

The statutory obligation to consult is clearly vitally important, and should be a curb on LAs seeing this as simply another source of revenue to be exploited.

If this idea is going to happen, then surely the money should be funneled to community interest groups? If accommodation providers are having to pay this tax then they should have the main say. They are paying this additional tax.

It is sensible to consult on this scheme, yes. But only if the findings ARE actually taken into account.

Yes, definitely should have consultation with the people who will be collecting the tax on behalf of the local authority

Definitely needs to be a consultation as it will affect everyone at some point.

There have been many opportunities for all parties to consult, given that this was mooted about 10 years ago. Let s get going ASAP implementing this.. Hotels and STLets in this Part of Scotland think nothing of ‘supply and demand’ pricing to tourists, at eye watering levels of payment. I don t think a Tourist Levy is going to deter anyone.

Consultation and accountability are key. There MUST be complete transparency regarding the money raised and where it has been spent, with the detail down to the last penny.

This consultation is going to cost a fortune. It's just a way for the council to create jobs on the back of private business.

There needs to be consultation, and accountability. But this sounds costly and time- consuming.

But I hope local Councils will be given the necessary funding to facilitate the consultation, the running of the scheme, and the collation of information for these annual reports....

There needs to be accountability and consultation. But this sounds very costly and time consuming.

It induces paralysis, or skews democracy because those participating in it have too much vested interest.

Previous consultations rarely seem to capture the views of the majority of residents and businesses and result in unpopular and poor policy. I suspect that this is exactly what would happen in this instance.

The indutry must be involved in all aspects of the visitor levey fund and how if is spent. Local authorities must not be able to use Tourist Tax funds for general local authority expenditure.

Please for goodness sake listen to the feedback during the consultation to avoid the sort of mess that has come out of the short term let legislation. Give plenty of time for introduction at a less stressful part of the year, and monitor it carefully.

There must open detailed accounting of how the money is spent, and the spend should be devolved to the community in which the tax was raised. Otherwise the money will go into pet projects of the LA and communities may see no benefit at all from raising the tax. For instance if a community requires funding for maintenance of public toilets, then that money should not be spent in a neighbouring town. Communities must have the main say in how the money is allocated.

It is pointless. Local authorities consult on a multitude of things and in the end do what is politically expedient. SG does the same. STL was widely opposed by the legitimate accommodation sector and alternatives put forward to deal with the real problem i.e. opportunistic property rental companies in the central belt, ignored.

Depends what is meant by consult! Councils regulalry 'consult' be dont listen. This is a poor way to validate their already made up minds. You get the answers to the questions you ask. They must think we're all buttoned up the back!

Sadly consultation exercises usually prove to be worthless but they should be enshrined in any legislation

There does need to be transparency about where the income is spent - providing improved car parks and toilets for a start. I also would suggest that the two National Park Authorities should also be allowed to charge a levy over and above any imposed by the local authority.

• Yes consult but the local authority should also conduct an impact assessment • The Financial memorandum for the Bill is not detailed enough, it does not explore the impact on fragile areas that depend on tourism. • Accountability & transparency – consult but also listen to communities. How will we have assurances that they will listen? • Create a separate committee in community councils to scrutinise the assessment. • What framework could be used with local authority to scrutinise the impact, management etc. • Could the country decide by voting, have visitor levy referendum? • What is collected in community council area should be spent in the community council area? • There should be role for community councils in where the money is spent.

The fact that so many are only just finding out about this so close to the deadline says it all. This quote springs to mind “There’s no point in acting surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for 50 of your Earth years,"

consultation and transparency are good

• Concern about how the results of a consultation will influence a local authority ( will the results be taken on board?) • Full transparency • Some sort of recourse to ensure that the la carries out what is being asked for by the community? and feedback must be taken into consideration

Needs flexibility EG across LA, all Ayrshire Must work with destination management groups Reporting not just an LA report – and who is the report for? Communities need some ownership over reporting as well Will there be a national resource made available to help with delivery and consistency for LAs to implement this? Will this be tied in with green initiatives?

Will it include the cost of hiring more civil servants to administer and report on this money grab?

Consultation is definitely needed if this goes ahead, including how much, what to spend the money on etc.

As this would affect everyone not just tourist, but business people and anybody travelling across the country that can't get home that same day everyone should be required to have their say on this or any Bill they want to introduce. I travel a lot for work and I have to pay my own accommodation bill, and I live in Scotland so this has a direct impact on me.

It is vital to get tthe views of those who will be directly affected by the introduciton of the Bill, however I am extremely disappointed that a decision was made to exclude cruise liner passengers with the excuse that it would delay the process too much, simply not good enough.

I disagree with the idea of a levy, just to make that clear. But the procedure outlined here seems reasonable and well thought-out (though of course it can't be foolproof), if the levy can't be escaped.

This is a necessary step. My question is what are YOUR past experiences in regards to the degree to which policy delivery has been positively changed as a result of community consultation?!

LA's generally make their mind up then have a consultation as an exercise rather than to really consult. Why consult like this on a national basis and make LAs consult again?

It is important that the community have their say however the focus should be on those affected directly ie accommodation providers

It is essential to obtain stakeholder opinion on the scheme when it been designed. The visitor levy scheme should be a scotgov scheme for the whole of Scotland, and the consultation should be carried out at that level. Some local authorities, including Edinburgh where I live, have shown that they cannot be trusted to develop or consult on new initiatives without pushing their own agenda. The consultation process must be a genuine exercise to garner opinion and then to adjust the design of the scheme accordingly as per government and local authority consultation best practice. Many previous LA consultations have been far from genuine - merely a box ticking exercise where there was clearly no intention to take on board any feedback. Also they have used loaded questions to influence the outcome.

if you totally ignore all the opinions that do not agree with LAs being responsible for this tax and force the issue through then of course a LA should consult with their constituents - anything else smacks of fascism.

Tourist infrastructure, and roads, desperately need investment

A consultation is important - but more important is actually listening to the views , and not just carrying on regardless.

The only party that should be consulted with is the community not special interest groups such as tourism providers. Visit Scotland etc are some of the worse offenders of encouraging poor behaviour by campers. I agree with publishing reports

Too much consultation and not enough actions is crippling our national decision making process. Once tax decided get on with it. A nation wide scheme through visitor income tax , divvied out by post code on an annual basis. Reduce workload all round and no extra civil servants required to administrate and waste time and effort.

Of course the local authority should consult.

No point in doing it if we don't know how well it is working.

All of Scotland should be consulted, not just locals who won't be subject to a levy being applied to visiting family - because they don't have a big enough house for them to stay in during visits.

It is important that the scheme is not applied without public involvement and consultation. This is democracy.

8 people in the meeting AGREE The group feel a lack of trust in the City of Edinburgh Council – it is hard to get information form them. Concern that Edinburgh Councillors are making statements that a visitor levy will be introduced in Edinburgh but that the legislation is not yet made, and that the legislation includes a requirement to hold a consultation. Decisions being made without asking citizens If there is a consultation by the local authority then it should: be open and transparent, put a public notice in evening news, send a letter to people / flyers; tell people so they know a consultation is happening, must provide accessible ways to contribute: for example on Zoom and non- digital ways, use libraries and community centres We need to be reassured that what we say will be listened too. Transparency – a consultation has to be fair and open.

It is stated that it is only required that a consultation is undertaken. This should be a Public Consultation to include everyone, not just the groups indicated here. This will be a typical tick box exercise in any case. The Local Authority are under no obligation to act upon any of the comments made during this consultation exercise. Who decides where and how the money is spent? There is nothing here to set and these are questions that need answering.

Scottish Community Tourism Network held a Zoom meeting to hear views. 14 people attended. 14 people agreed with this point. People said: Breakout 1 Agree to consultation but it needs to be transparent Breakout 2 • The consensus is that consultation is a good thing. However, many don’t trust councils to consult right people, publicise consultations, issues around tight deadlines etc. Any consultation should take place in winter when people working in tourism industry have more time to respond. Breakout 3 • There was an emphasis on the importance of consulting communities about how the funds are used; where the levy is applied and how it is varied across a local authority area.

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