When and where the Visitor Levy could apply?

When and where the Visitor Levy could apply?

The Bill would let local authorities set different rates for different areas or at different times. For example, they might charge more during special events. But they can't charge different rates based on the type of accommodation, like hotels or guesthouses. They could also apply the Levy in certain parts of the local authority area, but not in others. 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.


it should not be applied at all, it will impose an unfair burden on accommodation providers and will be impossible to administer by the local authority (which will not be able to ensure the net proceeds are spent on facilities substantially to be used by visitors for leisure purposes). Additional funds should be raised from the cruise liner passengers and campervan users as these are the people who need additional waste facilites to be provided for them.

What is are the statements made here actually based on? Had there been any expert analysis and objectives set that link in with the abstract propositions made? What is it you are trying to achieve by those statements other than opening h the whole concept up to chaotic irrational local policies? Surely soundly based objectives and outcomes,uniformity and clarity is needed.

I think something consistent across the authority would be much simpler to administer and less likely to cause confusion.

keep it simple keep it the same

I think the whole thing sounds like another awful, impossible to implement mess that hasn't been thought through but the rush will come to just take money from an already under huge strain sector - it's disgraceful that they even consider this after the huge backlash from providers when the STLL was put on us right after covid...they even come up with the idea during covid!!

Additional costs will be hugely detrimental to livelihoods- businesses can not absorb this in the current economic crisis we are in - between energy doubling at best, insurance tripling, NDR rates increasing by 63% on average and cost of living in general for all consumables increasing…and the new short term let licensing costs still to be normalised, it is too much to add another new levy. One implementation must be managed and monitored carefully before introducing another. By loosing accommodation businesses, as I fear the housing committee are aiming for I don’t think it will be give the huge influx of affordable housing into the market, it will just have a devastating ripple effect across rural communities that rely on high spend that visitors make daily, unlike local residents do in local retail, restaurants and venue locations. To simply state that the cost burden of a levy should be passed to the visitor is naive at best, if not downright dangerous. Will international visitors still choose Scotland? or go south of border with no levy? Or stop in Ireland and go no further? Has quantifiable research and evidence been gathered and can it be presented to demonstrate the traveller demographic has the capacity to accept this cost increase? It could be the biggest turn off for Scotland to visitors. Also do local people really understand that as soon as you leave your local authority area you will also need to pay it, despite being a Scottish resident? First hand qualitative research so far has demonstrated to me that the Norwegian market now find Scotland extremely expensive- not a statement I ever thought to hear and very surprising. I think the Housing and Planning Committee need to truly think carefully about what this could unleash and the long term consequences- it would be interesting to hear if any decision makers have a successful track record in commerce and sustainable business that provides wealth and job creation.

People are struggling with a recession already, hotel and accommodation prices have gone up, the tourism sector is already seeing a decline, charging extra will have an extra detrimental effect.

It's too piecemeal

Flexible and targeted

I feel the levy should be paid by all visitors at all times.

Any levey must be a common £ throughout the whole of Scotland. A % must not be used as it is too difficult to administer because all visitor accommodation uses dymamic pricing so the level of fee would vary by day or even hour.

It’s what happens in the rest of the world, and nobody bats an eyelid. Edinburgh is not a nice place to be at certain times of the year, so visitors should pay for the privilege.

Local Authorities can barely empty the bins on time, how are they fit to implement this levy? Small businesses have enough to do without charging extra and dealing with extra paperwork on behalf of the local authority.

The rate should remain the same regardless of the time of year or whether there is a special event taking place. To do otherwise would bring the scheme into disrepute.

Although I generally like the idea of flexibility within, and de-centralisation of, government, the potential for abuse can increase with these. Charging different rates at different times seems like profiteering, at least it may give that impression to visitors within and beyond Scotland. Also, will a November visitor really use much less tourism infrastructure than someone in July?

The sector has already lost some accommodation providers due to the cumbersome licensing - now this is more bureaucratic nonsense which defies logic!

Little places will be clobbered while this really only should apply to big cities and events

How on earth are you going to explain 32 versions of this? Have a national rate, with certain concessions, and being mindful of remote, rural areas. Keep it simple or people will feel penalised. Don't put it up for special events - there is already too much of a premium in costs for these times.

Another move towards killing the Golden Goose, ie The Festival.

It should be a blanket charge

Dear god so not only do you expect accom providers to administer this and threaten them with legal action if they don't get it right, you make it so complicated by charging a percentage but a different percentage at different times of the year and perhaps a different percentage if there is an event or a festival or a one off event or a festival and it might be a different rate in Edi to Dundee and it might be different again if you are a B&B or a guesthouse - what constitutes a B&B and a guesthouse - does scotgov even know this? And you expect an accom provider to keep up with all of this legislation???? There should be no levy!

It might just displace problems. Tourism has become a bit of a curse…yes, I am part of the problem. Sounds complicated, so a bit uncertain about this.

Many visitors are on full board or at least bed and breakfast. This is often at a preferential rate over the advertised room only cost. How is this going to be calculated. On that basis a simple per capita charge is simple and clear to visitors. As far as I can see that is not under consideration.

I think it should apply to foreign nationals but not Scottish citizens as that would negatively impact investment in our own country would could damage our economy.

Creates too much complexity which will create a system which is inefficient to administer due to accommodation providers making errors and local authorities having to apply more detailed checking.

Different areas see different volumes of tourists so local authorities can set relevant rates to their area. Tourism leads to an excess in rubbish that requires to be collected therefore it is a good idea to be able to collect at different rates so that after a major event there is cash to pay for the clean up.

Disagree - This will just push more visitors to other areas of the UK and Ireland, it will also push more visitors onto Cruises who are exempt from this levy. Inbound Group operators coming into Scotland from Europe/ Canada or US will simply make the Scottish stage of their holiday shorter (focus on Edinburgh only) and then explore the UK and Ireland - levy free. It is a divisive policy setting one part of Scotland against another, perhaps even in the same region, which will only damage hard working Scottish tourism businesses.

This once again complicates the calculations, the reporting and the potential for error and penalties. It also creates the potential for accusations of profiteering by local authorities. If a levy is worthwhile, then make it a simple flat fee across the board like other countries do. The fact that special events happen creates more tourists, which even with a flat fee creates more tax income - surely that is good enough. Please do not over complicate this.

8 people in the meeting AGREE Could encourage local residents (to stay off peak) if the penalty exists. For example, ‘locals’ (Scottish visitors) may choose to visit in May if a levy was introduced only during peak festival season in Edinburgh (July/August). People could choose when they come But on the other side the costs may not be enough to put people off (and change visitor patterns) Yes, the local authority should be able to decide

For administration ease there should be a flat rate year round and also a uniform charge for all councils.

Already suffering from 32 different interpretations of the STL. A low simple tax of a flat rate in each part of Scotland, but what about families with children - or is the idea to scare 'tourists' away from certain regions so the businesses there will struggle? The idea of having to gather data, and information is horrendous. Already we have to provide detailed accounts to the local Assessor on income generated every year - this instrusion into private business is not stopping any time soon I see.

I think there should be a flatrate, with the flexibility of charging more for certain events. Highland Council tends to do too little regarding charging tourists, so I think there should be a basic flatrate all year round to ensure money comes in for reparing and extending existing infrastructure. I hope it helps to protect the environment as well as Highland area has been badly affected over the past years.

This is a nonsense and would only make it more difficult for the unpaid tax collector (the business operator) to keep records and account to the unmanageable bureaucracy of the council

I think it should be set centrally. I like the idea of a flat rate, and perhaps seasonal makes some sense.

Because I live in Highland, where the council regards all its so-called 'remote rural' areas with contempt, and sees them as existing only to be exploited and 're-wilded' into the wild west. On past experience the Highland Council will not operate this in any fair or reasonable way, and the money will be raised in the rural areas and drained away to Inverness. The council is completely urban in its outlook and cannot represent or provide the services needed by rural areas. Roads are completely overwhelmed with traffic, potholed, flooded, falling apart. We need investment, not more destructive exploitation.

Just a recipe for discontent and confusion

Keep it simple. It should be the same all year round.

keep it as a fixed amount all year and all areas

I can understand that charge rates might be varied seasonally, and this should be meanageable, but to vary rates ad hoc based on special events would be an administrative nightmare. Concerning different types of accommodation, the levy being related directly to accommodation charges negates this issue. Hotels are more expensive that guesthouses.

It is inconsistent with the principal of a visitor levy. It looks more like a ruse to maximise income on behalf of the LA. Any levy should be a single agreed rate per person .

Nope, just have a flat fee or percentage based on accommodation providers turnover which should be set nationally.

Just make it simple

It would be very complicated and onerous for smaller businesses to cope with varying rated throughout the year. Who would decide on dates and types of events that required a higher or lower levy?

Sounds like it could be difficult to administer and keep track of - for both LAs and accommodation providers. The element of charging more for staying in, for example, a centre of population rather than a rural area might make sense but how much difference that would really make is yet to be seen.

there should be no visitor levy

It may be prudent to only charge rates in the summer months for example. This is common practice around Europe. I observed this most recently in Slovenia where tourist tax is only charged between April and October, presumably to attempt to boost tourism in the off-season.

I think that a flat rate applicable at all times would be better understood and result in less bureaucracy for businesses.

There is bound to be a disconnect in this such has already occurred with the STL. Edinburgh All of the accommodation providers in the country are being penalised because Edinburgh City Council were unable to deal with issues surrounding the festival by using existing by laws or drafting new ones. Follow that up with SG being scared to target the specific problem areas for fear of corporate backlash from OTAs and 'Platforms' and you have the totally unnecessary STL being applied across the country. Goodness knows what levy Edinburgh will charge during the festival or on Rugby weekends but other councils will no doubt seize the opportunity to raise their levy rate when any major event takes place.

It gives more flexibility to cater for local conditions - so long as it is done in consultation with the local businesses

KISS principle - no profiteering from peak demand and please don’t let 32 councils set their own rates. A simple opt out either for the full year or for the shoulder months would be sensible but no changing price structure as this would be horribly difficult (and expensive) for both business and council to administer and confusing for visitors.

This is a nonsence and would make it harder and more costly for the unpaid tax collector (the business operator) to collect and account for the tax. A congestion charge system would automatically cover these sort of increased footfall events. The increase in footfall at festivals is not all overnight guests and includes very many more day trippers.

a local democratic system

• The levy should apply across the whole region not just in specific areas • Concern that la might use music events as revenue raisers. Some people in the group felt this would be unfair for some (smaller) music events who are already financially challenged. • Thought there could be a benefit in it being seasonal.

How are different times implemented? Having a Visitor Management Plan is key to this working Need 2 frameworks: 1. Destination Management Group 2. Visitor Management Plan – then decides what fits in collaboration with LA

Introducing such a variable approach to charging visitor levies will only act to confuse visitors and also allows for unfair burdens to be placed on accommodation providers or event organisers. I can see an administrative and regulatory nightmare with the variability that is currently being suggested in the scheme.

It comes too soon on the back of fleecing short term let owners with licencing, so another cost that will be passed on to the visitor (as most STL vendors will attempt to do) but, more importantly, it only appear to be targeting static accommodation visitors. If introduced, to be fair to all, it must also target mobile homes and caravans, who have multiplied disproportionately in the last 5 years, especially in the Highlands on the 'Ned Chase' 500 route. Now at a level that has become a nuisance to most, someway of harnessing this mobile visitor must be found to be seen to be fair. How would they be charged a daily visitor tax, perhaps it would be a pre-purchased 'licence' displayed for the period valid in the windscreen of the vehicle? Who would then enforce it? In summary, if introduced, it should before all visitors, not just the easy targets.

The administrative cost on local businesses for this proposed scheme is already burdensome. Someone staying for a week may have to be charged different rates for each day. The additional cost will deter tourists from coming to affected areas and locals from offering tourist facilities.

The levy should be a flat daily rate applied across all local authorities making it simple for tourists and those charging the levy.

There should be no mechanism to increase the rate for special events,almost like robbery

I disagree with the levy in principle as it will reduce visitor numbers to Scotland as it is very nit picking, heavily bureaucratic and the very opposite of what the Scottish Government should do if it wishes to encourage tourism. I once had to pay a tourist tax to go to Venice and it was extremely onerous involving submitting passport details, bureaucratic small payments. It really grated and left me with the feeling that you get after going on a Ryanair flight and then finding that there are lots of niggling fees and additional costs . I found it extremely frustrating and annoying having to pay the tourist levy and whilst it might be understandable that n Venice which is overrun with tourists I think it’s fair to say that Scotland needs all the tourists it can get to boost the economy.

If the visitor levy does come in (I don't agree with it) it must be applied equally to all parts of Scotland at all times of year. Same price all year round. The administrative burden on accommodation providers must be kept to an absolute minimum, so applying different prices at different times of year is a complete non-starter. If scotgov wish to bring in a system with any complexity, they'll need to administer it themselves.

LAs could use this as a windfall tax opportunity on eg festivals. The most equitable way forward is to charge all tourists equally per head as a flat fee.

My organisation has multiple properties across scotland so to administer this would be very complicated if each authority set a different amount.

One rate for all , keep it simple.

Every tourist should pay the same regardless of time of year or what kind of accommodation they stay in. Self-catering accommodation has safety regulations in place just as hotels do because of the STL legislation which is very thorough in what it covers.

'They can't charge different rates based on the type of accommodation' . . . but they can let camper vans off without paying any levy at all?! Unfair. Also, why aren't the NC500 compelled to pay a levy towards the negative impact their 'brand' is having on Highland roads and Highland communities?

Accommodation costs always are over priced for special events so don't agree with that

This variable taxing will be a nightmare for the unpaid tax collecting accommodation owners to administer. Totally impractical idea.

I agree the percentage should be fixed but there should be a de minimis level of £100 (index linked) set for the accommodation portion as defined in section 5.2 to avoid accomomodation providers getting involved in an ineffective and bureaucratic process.

Putting up rates during particular events makes local providers seem grasping and mean. In Tarbert, at the yacht festival, many providers did this and many of the guests have moved elsewhere. Own goal.

I think hotels and guesthouses should pay less than AirBnB etc. as they already have safety regs in place. AirBnB is killing cities and tourist areas by encouraging rich people to buy more property to let out and pricing out locals. There should be a much bigger tax on AirBnB and similar.

It needs to be kept simple. If a percentage were to be charged (which I don't support), more money would automatically be collected during special events, because accommodation prices rise for these.

A flat rate to make it simple no matter where or when a tax applies. I’d actually make the tax £100 per night for all including campers and campervanners.

Incredibly complex to understand. Imagine you are choosing between Dublin, Belfast, Cardiff or a Scottish destination. Understanding you have to pay more to come to Scotland will be hard enough, however, it will only be even more complex if it can vary per area and on the time of year. If introduced it has to be simple, and it has to be equitable accross Scotland.

many visitors are not tourists, what about families visiting friends and families? Also just another opportunity to charge more for visiting for events and other special attractions! Scotland only for the rich to visit??!

All this has been influenced by the AirB&B takeover. Tourist levy, STL license its damaging the B&B industry not the AirB&B which in truth is what they have aimed these levy & licenses at and its not worked. Many accommodation providers are being hit with huge commission charged 15%-20% from OTA's. Let alone all the costs involved with the STL & tourist levy

• Disagreement over just certain areas and how this would be administered • Should be a flat rate across whole of Scotland • How will the local authority decide where? • Concern this would impact on visitors’ choices of where they would stay. • Accommodation is very price sensitive. This would affect choices of where people go.

If you're going to implement a new system, start with a national notional level. The STL regime was a farce with different local authorities interpreting rules differently or even erroneously. And do we really want to charge a levy on critical workers staying with us, eg, NHS staff or when a local need emergency accommodation?

Levy should be flat rate regardless of area or type of property. Tourists will accept this more readily.

This could lead to local authorities using the levy to make up shortfalls in their local budgets.

Punitive, oppressive and opportunistic taxation to increase the costs at the places already most expensive. A shockingly bad idea and will be subject of abuse and profiteering by local councils.

Agree that different authorities should set whatever rates they feel appropriate to their area. This should be standard across all types of accommodation and standard across the year. Easier to administer I would have thought.

local authorities need to have the power to make the decisions for their area. Although, I hope they wouldn't have too much variation in the rates.

This is profiteering. Many accommodation providers hike their prices at busy times and for special events which in itself is also wrong. No additional value is offered at these times so why make people pay more

Clubs who own properties and rent out on a non profit basis should be exempt. If folk staying in basic accomodation have to pay the same tax as those staying in a £350 per night hotel is absurd. Meanwhile those sleeping in lay bys pay zero!!

This is overly complicated. What is a Special Event for instance? Which area is covered for a Special Event and who decides? This is a post code lottery. Any extra disruption or facilities should surely be provided by the organiser of the Event?

Scottish Community Tourism Network held a Zoom meeting to hear views. 14 people attended. 9 people agreed and 5 disagree with this point. Breakout 1 • Should be part of the consultation, needs to be transparent. Breakout 2 • Agree that it makes sense to charge in some areas but not others - some areas less popular – but this would by complicated and could lead to increased admin. Could deter some people but could work in e.g. Skye compared to other parts of Highlands - agree in general. • Areas could put themselves forward if they thought it would work there – could ensure cash went to right areas including infrastructure investment. • Others thought it would be better if it was set across Scotland as a whole – standard across the country. Avoid complexity and complications. • Strong support for providing for variation across local authority areas to respond to different tourism challenges of those areas. • Strong support too for allowing for seasonal variation. Reducing rates outside of the summer season could encourage more tourism in off peak times and could even out the impact on communities.

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