The rate of the Visitor Levy

The rate of the Visitor Levy

The Bill lets local authorities set the rate for the Visitor Levy as a percentage of the cost of accommodation. So, if a local authority set the rate at 1% across their area the fee for staying in a hotel that cost £100 a night would be £1 and the fee for staying in a hotel that cost £200 a night would be £2. 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. Are there any other ways to calculate the cost of a Visitor Levy that you think might be better?


I don't agree with the Visitor Levy at all full stop!

There should be a minimum amount though!

it will no doubt increase plus the extra work incured to account for the levy and payment will increase as the business has to recoup the extra paperwork.

I think a flat rate charge, reducing after the first week, would be much simpler. I'm used to paying this abroad.

i think this will end up being a punitive tax on vistors to Scotland and will not achieve the goal it sets out to do. it will add to the cost of living and not improve the issues suffered by remote areas swamped by campervans and cruise ships

Absolutely ridiculous idea. The rate should be a fixed amount per visitor. Why should higher priced venues be burdoned with much higher amounts to pay by visitor. Do these visitors receive a higher benefit ? Of course they don't ..Clearly demonstrating the true aim is about money grabbing and nothing to do with a levy! A one off amount of £2 per visitor per night is .acceptable..anymore is unfair on everyone.

I will be paying it not the guest

I have come to accept that the visitor levy will be implemented and would agree that additional funding needs to be found to support the tourism sector and infrastructure. As a B&B owner I will have to implement the requirements of this new legislation. However my collection of this tax should not increase my turnover (and potentially make me liable for VAT) or cost me any more in card transaction fees! That's not fair to the businesses being told to collect this tax.

If it is implemented it should be same across the board

It’s fair and simple - so long as caps and thresholds introduced

Once a tax is introduced and becomes part of a councils annual income it will only ever increase as they get used to the income. It’s a slippery slope of increasingly oppressive taxation

Clear and simple

Any Tourist Tax fee should be common across all local authorties and should be a £ amount and not a %. A % amount is too administrativly complex to administer.

We are in danger of killing our tourism industry in Scotland, with the difficulties already set for businesses by licensing etc. What is it going to cost to administer this tax and how much will it cost to set up? the Scottish government does not have a good track record to date regarding consultation, they ask questions at great expense, but take no head what so ever of what is said by people within the industry as they are going to crash on with their original ideas. Maybe time to adopt a different way of thinking and stop draining a struggling industry dry. Scotland should be known for it's hospitality not it's taxation on visitors. How does this affect campervans?

Even if a levy of no more than 1% were charged, it remains a lot of admin work for the accommodation provider, and a not insubstantial percentage of the benefit to the local council would swallowed up by transfer costs. Higher rates are a real disincentive to stay somewhere. For example, if I was given the option of visiting a place like Skye and handing its local council a fiver a night, or going to another rural area which didn't charge a levy, I'd choose to the latter without thinking twice about it. And what happens in large local authority areas, like Highland, where some areas are oversubscibed with visitors (and can charge high accommodation prices) and others are struggling to attract them (and have to keep prices low)? If the same rate is applied across a local authority area it could exacerbate economic inequalities within that area.

The local councils haven’t even managed to get a handle on the ridiculous new Scottish Government legislation for tourist accommodation yet, adding this in is just beyond belief.

most places charge a standard price per night not based on cost so £1 or £2 per night for the total number of nights.. i think this is best

It’s a clear, simple and transparent method. However upper and lower limits (threshold and cap) would help

"If is was 1%" is not relative to discussions already being had - the numbers being suggested are significantly higher than this. If you had to pay 5% as a UK resident to come to Scotland I would suggest there is a risk that you will simply go elsewhere.

We have more to do in life than endlessly fill out government admin

I dont think it should be applied to overnight accommodation at all. If anything it should be applied to cruise liner passengers as a flat rate e.g. £1 per person to be used to improve litter collection and toilet facilities.

I LIVE in Scotland. It is cheaper to go abroad than to holiday in Scotland! Do not penalise and disadvantage Scotland further. Tourists have the freedom to choose elsewhere to get more bang for their buck. Look at the businesses already in place to help tourists do just that.

1% would be acceptable but if the scheme is introduced I would predict that the Council would increase it rapidly.

Completely disagree with the whole proposal which as usual has not been properly thought out. This tax should not even be considered.

I simply do not trust that the fees will be or stay as low as that. Once this is allowed then we are at the mercy of increases as any council sees fit...and it all comes back to the same principles of the SSTL - it was designed for urban areas and the remote parts of Scotland won't see any of this.

Not clear why this is needed. Might it set one local authority against another?

This disproportionately impacts on low income families and limits opportunities - Maybe it should be introduced once the cost of living crisis is over or be proportionate to income?

This will just lead to a postcode lottery for businesses and visitors a like. It should be set nationally.

Yes, percentage fairer to all, set by individual councils

I think it could get a bit messy trying to decide what the room rate actually is. Does it include the breakfast in B&B? Both meals if its a DBB rate? What about a rate that includes spa access, parking or offers 7 nights for the price of 6. Does a hostel room sleeping 10 adults at £20 per head pay the same as a couple in a £200 hotel room - despite the much bigger impact on local services? Overall I think a per head charge would be simpler and fairer. And there should with a cap at 7 nights in any one place so long stay visitors aren't penalised.

This is such a small amount as to be hardly noticeable - as such I can't see anything to complain about. I would hope there would be a minimum (say £1) charge: perhaps there needs to be thought as to whether we are talking of a per person or a per room/booking charge. Again, Europe seems to have managed this for years - perhaps we can learn from what happens elsewhere. As to the word "tourist" - anyone staying away from home is a visitor, even if not strictly a toirist. The charge is so small in relation to an overall night's cost that it's really not worth trying to differentiate between different categories of caling it a "visitor" levy seems a good idea.

There is no logic to it. A visitor is a visitor not a percentage point. Should it be £X per visitor per day or per visit at least that would make some sort of sense but yet again simplicity of handling seems to be governments priority - the easy thing not the right thing. Do the councils know what they want to charge to fill the holes in their budgets that should be met from other funds. Who will police the councils to make sure funds are appropriately spent.

I honestly don't care, so long as camper vans pay the same levy.

The flexibility of the Bill to give the LAs ability to set own rates is supported, however, there are still key questions to answer. Will increase administration for both business and LA – highlights need for cost benefit analysis again How to determine what should already be paid for through general taxation How do you manage expectation tax will bring if money not spent correctly? – this is why Arran Trust was set up and has been very successful What is the £100 based on – depends on what they’re charging it on (meal/costs/VAT)? Would we lose the voluntary contributions we already receive – does it have to be accommodation the levy is charged on? Will LAs have the autonomy to work with their visitor economy groups to set these?

What is the economic benefit to "Scotland the brand" to allow different council authorities to set different tax levels. From a visitor or inbound operators perspective it is a complete and utter headache. This is a deceptive and divisive policy setting one area of Scotland against each other. For example Edinburgh could apply a lower levy than Ayrshire as Edinburgh receives far more visitors - so by implementing a lower cost per visitor in a prime destination Edinburgh it actually makes it more attractive pulling tourism away from other areas. There is no good way to calculate a visitor levy as it is a accommodation tax.

A visitor levy should be set as a standard rate regardless of location but perhaps variable on broad type. A percent of chargeable rate seems unfair to the visitor as their impact is not different if they pay £100/night or £250/night. If the levy is only targeted at overnight accommodation then the high impact camper tourist market do not end up paying for their high impact use at all!! WHAT are we actually trying to achieve with this bill....? It does seem not at all clear in the variable rules that are being proposed by the current bill.

I’d personally tax all visitors that head to the Highlands and Islands by use of an ANPR camera. The same sort of system that is used to alleviate congestion in many major cities. That would ensure all people irrespective of where they are staying actually are taxed for holidaying. As for the amount that’s charged, I don’t think £100 per night is unreasonable and the income generated should be ploughed back into the local communities.

If you have to introduce it – and I can't see why – make it a flat percentage across Scotland. Otherwise Edinburgh Council will do what they did with the STL licence fee and really take the mick – they'll make theirs the most expensive levy/tax in Scotland, hammering tourists even more. By decimating the holiday let sector as they are doing, hotel prices are already going up and making people's holidays and trips to see family really expensive. And tourists will simply go elsewhere. I am willing to bet Edinburgh becomes the most expensive city to visit in the UK.

The levy if it goes a head should be a full UK not Scotland. It should be collected at airports and ferry terminals from overseas visitors as they enter or a departure tax (a UK conservation tax) If its collected that way everyone pays, whether they are in campervans, tents hotels etc. Accommodation providers have enough to do running their own business. British resident’s should be exempt.

If this is to happen it should be a flat rate. The example of 1% does not sound bad until we realize there is no upper rate. Nexy year 2% then 5% then...

Ban holiday lets ban airbnb levy should be a minimum of 50%

BUT we need to decrease the amount of Airbnbs, - a higher tax might discourage use

The fee must be enough not be be outweighed by the administrative costs. A percentage fee allows for seasonal changes and special offers.

I think there should be a flat rate charge of either £1 or £2 per night per adult or per invoice.

Based on the Scottish Government's Framework for Tax 2021 which seeks to leverage the principles identified by Adam Smith, including that of Fairness, the proposed levy falls short. It is a matter of record that taxes should not be assessed on top of other taxes, to provide a multiplier effect. In particular, in section 5 of the proposed Bill, it is suggested to assess the levy based on the 'accomodation portion' Section 5(3) identifies various cost elements that should be excluded from the accomodation portion. However, there is no specific acknowledgement that VAT should be excluded. Failing to exclude VAT would mean that changes to the VAT rate would lead to changes (up or down) in the levy. Additionally, certain service providers may not be VAT registered. The only fair way to address this is to exclude relevant VAT from the accomodation portion so as to align with the principles and policies set out in the Policy Framework.

The councils are not acpable of running such a scheme and the cost will not cover the fees raised. Sums raised will not be used on tourism

A percentage rate penalises business who invest in their offering. A flat rate would be easier to administer, cheaper to implement and would produce the same per-visitor returns from a bunkhouse as a five star hotel. Please consider hotel chains that have multiple rates (often changing daily) and how easy it would be to report lower rates were charged and therefore lower returns will be offered. Flat rates would remove the temptation - guests either here or not.

it should be a flat fee

National rate should apply, keep it simple.

Based on ability to pay depending on cost of accommodation

Set a national rate, in bands if ncessary, rather than a percentage.

visitors staying on a £25 bunk house use parking, public toilets etc just as much as £100 a night visitors - a flat fee for all, per head/night will suffice.

Yes but levy must be a minimum of 50%.

A proportional rate makes sense, but the per-person occupancy of the room/accommodation should also be taken into account

I would prefer a flat sum within a price banding really as it would make things easier to track. However, if it is a percentage against cost, that still seems a reasonable thing to ask and will take very little time to update a simple spreadsheet on a daily basis.

1-2% seems a reasonable levy.

It should be a national rate and chargeable everywhere. It will be confusing for guests if one area charges and another does not.

Should be a set fee on the accomodation

Works nicely with the figures quoted, but could be a bit onerous for small businesses with 'odd' amounts to calculate. A standard charge per night may be simpler. But, I think local authorities should have the discretion to consult with their local businesses to get the preferred system- a bit more local power in decision- making may help to get some enthusiasm for the idea.

I think there should be a national standard rate set by the government or COSLA, it will help tourists understand what they are paying in a consistent manner and will prevent any particularly desperate local councils hiking rates to a level that will genuinely deter tourism.

We are currently instituting a license fee which accommodation providers must pay. Visitors are paying for accommodation, visiting attractions, eating out, shopping locally. The levy will only apply to campervans in campsites - this will inevitably lead to more pressure on areas where camper vans and wild campers are already creating local issues. I am unclear how this tax will be collected and administered.

Experience with the Short Term Let fiasco means that there are 32 versions of charges. This is likely to happen again. Setting a simple percentage charge means that travellers wishing to stay would pay a lot. There should also be a maximum cap, per accommodation. It should not be charged per head. Concession rates should apply. Rural remote communities already have high fuel expenses, and a higher cost of living so they should also have a "rurality" discount.

The rate should be fixed by the Scottish government else you would end up with different rates in different areas.

It's a very small levy for individuals and other countries like Spain also charge a tourism tax which I think is a good idea. It will help to provide for local community infrastructure and can generally be spent in good ways. As with Airbnb s I think a tax and license is good as a long term residential 24 years in my current property I've experienced bad Airbnb neighbours.

The impact should be greater on those that can afford it.

A cap has to be set and it should be a fixed price not a percentage. Rural accommodation providers already have to charge a higher price to take account of the extra costs of operating in a remote area, so this would disproportionately affect prices in those areas, meaning we would likely get less bookings. With this how it is what is to stop the council charging 100% there has to be a limit set, and you should also not be able to put this amount up every year.

The rate should be capped so as no Local Authority can push the level to one it can encourage a larger return to supplement its own agenda/funds.

I think it should be a very low % or a minimal fixed fee, % like 3-5 % have been spoken about - this is way too much

Difficult for micro businesses to administer (and costly). It would be easier to work with a flat rate charge per adult - surely where they stay makes no impact on the extra cost to the council when it comes to infrastructure to support tourism…and it must have a government cap to avoid councils profiteering from this scheme.

A flat fee would be easier to administer and as the vast majority of tourism businesses are sole traders or micro businesses keeping it simple and avoiding undue complications will keep costs down. It makes no difference if you stay in a £300 a night hotel room or a £30 a night hostel if the argument for applying this is the impact on infrastructure. In my view it should not be applied to British citizens full stop. It could then be collected at U.K. entry/exit points but of course that won’t happen as SG wants to lead the way on taxing visitors. Sadly the vast majority of visitors to Scotland are domestic rather than international so this tax hits our own people for holidaying at home - something we are trying to encourage.

as long as there is an upper limit on what any local authority can charge. We also need clarity on what the income generated is spent on.

I agree that the rate should be proportionally set according to the price of accommodation but also feel that there should be a price per person, not just per room.

The levy, if implemented, should be spent on improving local amenities for Scottish residents. Tourists only spend a brief time here. Why should the levy benefit the few at the expense of the many?

If the principle is about using this money to pay for tourist services and possibly to mitigate the impact of the tourists on the local area, then it matters not the cost of where you stay. A tourist in a cheap BnB can generate as much wear and tear on the roads, generate as much rubbish, use as many tourist facilities in a day as someone staying in an expensive hotel. There appears to be no justification for charging more based on the cost of where you stay, beyond perceived ability to pay??? A flat rate per adult or per room seems much fairer to all involved??? Allowing Councils to set their own level is also fraught with potential conflict for those collecting this tax on the governments behalf. How do business communicate this difference to guests who stay in various places in Scotland? How do they justify the fairness of the approach. Why should they put up with disgruntled visitors because of it. What is the justification for Councils to charge different levels?

No percentages please, just a fixed amount of say £1 or £2 per night - other countries like Switzerland do it like that and its much easier to understand what you are going to be paying.

• Only if the 1% is charged on the whole booking (not per person or per night) and is capped.

• The group disagree that it should be charged as a % rate. • An example was given by one of the accommodation providers in the room about the challenges that they face to deal with the rising costs of heat, light etc. As they have raised their prices to cover these costs they have noticed how price sensitive the market it. • What about where it’s central booking? How will a% rate be worked out and charged per person when the booking is made for the accom. • Impact of variations will impact on accommodation providers rather than visitors. • Complications over % rate per night, per person ‘bookings are made for a block’. Complicated for the accom provider to work this out. • It should be charged as a flat rate on booking not per person • Air BnB, don’t always know how many people will be staying in the accommodation. • Very few EU countries use a % rate, must? Most use a fixed rate • The suggestion (in the Bill) is it is not capped and could rise. That’s a concern.

Seems like a proportionate approach

• Why shouldn’t it be a flat rate? • More complicated if different % for different types of accommodation • What about options like Barcelona passengers paying to enter the city • There should be a charge for campervans

It's not about the amount. I am against yet another tax. Visitors spend when here. Let them choose what to spend it on.

Fixed amount, flat rate everywhere. One 2 bed property should not be more expensive than an other - the guest is already choosing to pay a premium for some types of property - but they should not have to pay more tourist tax as a result of not booking the cheaper alternative. They are not receiving any more of a local benefit.

Tourists pay enough. e.g. now tourists on Skye must pay £5 to park in portree and old man of storr, that is THC collecting millions, why tax more and make thousands of small business become tax collectors

I am against yet another tax. Accommodation providers are already struggling with the cost and requirements for the STL. Where/what is the income from the STL going to be spent on? eg is the income from Skye STL's going to stay on Skye? Where is the Skye income of hundreds of thousands of pounds from parking fee's being spent? We need answers to these questions before any more taxes are introduced!

there should be no visitor levy.

I think hotels should be less - and higher charges on AirBnB and holiday lets. Especially those in residential areas. Many places in Scotland cannot afford to lose more homes to visitors. Homes are needed for staff that service the communities we live in

• A flat rate may discourage people from stay in in a campsite.

The best way is a flat rate charge, up to a maximum level. What happens when we host NHS staff, workers, and locals who need emergency accomm because their heating stopped, or house flooded - what's the threshold for a Visitor Levy?

Fee should be set by government centrally. This will ensure a fair level will be set, and prevent certain local authorities from profiteering (like they are attempting to do with self catering licensing fees) Fee should be a small nominal flat fee charge per guest per night eg 50p The additional admin created by the current proposal would be an unreasonable burden on the accom providers - flat fee would avoid that. There must be an upper cap set on fee before the legislation is implemented. The reality is that the fee will be have to be absorbed by the accom providers as the market dictates the max nightly charge. ie it will be another tax on them that should be kept to an absolute minimum.

People should be charged a flatrate per night in accommodation. Also, cruise ships and motorhomes/campervans should be charged a higher levy per night. Maybe that charged could be reduced for motorhomes/campervans to the accommodation flatrate if they can prove they stayed on a campsite over night.

Using 1% as the example is not realistic,like everything else it will be a lot more

Its not clear why the cost is % of price rather than a fixed per capita (or per adult) fee? There should probably be an upper limit - as far as I can see there is nothing to stop a LA imposing a 300% levy.

I disagree with the priniciple but if the levy, were to go ahead, and include campervans, and not add burdens to local businesses (by requiring quarterly returns of stays), a capped flat rate fee seems reasonable.

European cities that collect this only seem to collect in hotels. Different charge for different cities. How do you check on the rates that operators are charging.

I think it should be a flat rate. Someone spending £100 and someone spending £200 have the same impact on infrastructure. It might even be the inverse. I personally think for admin purposes a single flat rate set centrally makes more sense eg £5 per night

32 councils all asking for different percentages stupid idea.

There needs to be an exemption for small providers who will struggle to meet these charges. And the charges MUST apply to cruise ships and motorhomes. The latter could be subject to a congestion charge and a levy on hire fees where hired locally. Local residents could be exempt.

I agree with a tourist tax in principle but am unsure that an overnight levy would be the optimum way for collection of same. Camper vans of which there are thousands yearly in the highlands would be missed in an overnight tax. On the Isle of Skye the tourist levy could be collected at the bridge for example where there is already an redundant office and seems an obvious place to be collected. Why couldn't there just be a flat rate for all visitors? They are all using the roads.

Tourists already pay 20% VAT in many accommodation businesses - if a % fee is added they will be paying the % on top of VAT as well as the basic accommodation cost. Some countries charging a tourist tax at the moment have a much lower rate of VAT on accommodation or no VAT at all eg. Switzerland - if this has to happen a flat fee on a national basis is the only fair way for this to work.

In Europe it's usually a fixed fee which works.

Means testing tourists? This implies that those with deeper pockets make a bigger negative impact on infrastructure. Really?

So, if I let my cottage out for £600 ex VAT a1% tax rate will cost £6 per person per night or £24 for a family of 4 or £168 per week. This is too much - the Visitor Levy (Tax) should not proceed.

If you do end up charging a levy, it is not fair to charge the levy as a percentage of the chargeable transaction. Many other places use a set amount per night.

There should be a de minmis level £100 for the cost of accommodation otherwise it becomes a hugely bureaucratic exercise.

Something needs to be done about the rubbish and toilet waste being left in areas of beauty by those not in campsites or managed areas.

Even 1% would be quite a burden. We already pay odd percentages to booking platforms, finance and other taxes such as VAT

There is no logic or expert analysis here to tie in with meaningful objectives.Price paid is market and provider led. Yet another example of poorly thought out policy and asking other folks to try to make it up as they go along. Have any experts actually costed this up and analysed it or did you just ask primary school children how it should be charged?

I disagree with this because not every person that needs overnight accommodation is a tourist firstly, Scots have weekend breaks too. This bill says "IF", "IF" being the operative word here, IF the council sets it at 1% or more likely IF this bill is approved then maybe (slight) 1% this year and then 5% next year and before you blink its sitting at 15 - 20 % as they have the authority to set it as when they want and to what level. I would still disagree with this bill if a law was past that only 1% can be charged, as I strongly (can't emphasis this enough) that the council will not use the money to improve services for the tourists or locals. They are handed more than enough money from the Government and the Locals and still everything is falling apart around about us. I've never ever in my life visited a country that needs so many road workers or seen towns or cities that need to tar the roads on such a frequent basis, yet still no regeneration for area's. Tourists shouldn't be taxed because the Councils don't have a handle on their Public Procurement spend. How much did the tram in Edinburg cost at the end for one example.

Using a percentage of accommodation charges is simple for the provider, and easily varied by the LA as and when necessary.

I think this decision should be left with the local authority because they are best placed to know what sort of impact tourism has within their authority.

lets not pretend it will be 1% or even 2%. This is a tax on everone in the UK, including Scots from all over Scotland visiting Edinburgh for the Rugby or any other events. We already pay enough in TAX and shouldnt have to pay a visitor tax to stay in our own country. Councils are well funded but poorly managed hence the need to raise more money due the collosal waste over the past few years.

It is guaranteed to increase year after year and there is no way to track where the money goes.

This should be a flat rate per night across the country. This is the norm across the world and something visitors understand. They will not understand paying x per night in Inverness, y in Aberdeen and Z in Edinburgh.

LA's should not be able to apply another tax to Scottish people who want to see their country. Many of us can't afford trips in our own country. Levy could be set high so as to use the income to offset other spending.

There is nothing in this about VAT in this question. If you charge on the full amount being levied then you are double taxing i.e charging 1 or 2 % on the VAT portion of the cost. Any % charged must be on the amount net of VAT.

7 people in the meeting AGREE with this A percentage rate is fairer (a smaller amount for lower accommodation charges). Compare a campsite to a £200 per night hotel room. There should be a fair rate.

1 person in the meeting DISAGREES A flat rate would be easier for accommodation providers to manage Concern that in the future could be increases or charges. How will this be transparently managed (through the local authority consultation process?)

At this level we doubt that when administration costs are included that there will be much revenue left. This agian favours the large urban areas as accommodation is more expensive and a % will generate more income than lower priced rural areas. Yet again a piece of legislation favouring the Central Belt. Discretion as to the amount of Levy could be left to the Local Authority, who might decide that a flat fee might be more appropriate.

Scottish Community Tourism Network held a Zoom meeting to hear views. 14 people attended. 8 people agree and 6 disagree with this point. Breakout 1 • Participants appeared to prefer a flat rate over a percentage rate as it would be easier to administer. • If it is going to happen, it should be as simple as possible, and equitable across Scotland £1 per night for example. visitors and business need to able to budget in advance not work % Breakout 2 • Standardised flat rate would be easiest – much less admin. Clarity for visitors, providers and councils. • % rate could get very complicated for providers whose prices vary depending on demand – constantly changing rates mean constantly changing levy. Fears providers may just absorb the levy themselves rather than asking guests for small sum as they check out when many have already paid in advance. Breakout 3 • Mixed opinion on the value of a percentage figure. There was a sense that this approach allowed a proportionate approach where those paying more for their accommodation will contribute more. • Concerns about how this will work with accommodation deals that encompass breakfast or an evening meal and not just overnight accommodation. Could lead to a very significant administrative burden trying to respond to this. • General concern about the complexity of managing a percentage figure rather than a flat rate. • Will need to strike the right balance in the percentage figure chosen by local authorities. Can’t be too high as this will discourage visitors and can’t be too low or there will be no value in collecting it. • There also needs to be thought given to applying the figure differently across a local authority area to respond to the different environment across the authority.

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