The power to charge a Visitor Levy

The power to charge a Visitor Levy

The Bill gives local authorities the power to introduce a fee called the Visitor Levy in all or part of their area, should they choose to do so. This fee would be added to the charge for an overnight stay. The Bill would give local authorities the power to decide when and how to impose this fee, following the rules and guidelines outlined in the Bill. 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.

Points

I agree with the idea of a visitor levy which can support public services is areas where tourists place a high demand. However, the levy needs to be fair in that it applies to all overnight visitors and is applied to businesses and visitors consistently across Scotland. It also needs to be efficient so that the levy is used to support public services rather than the administration of the levy and so that it doesn’t take money out of the the economies of communities who are reliant on tourism. The current proposals do not meet these requirements.

I work in tourism, the visitors i speak to are surprised we don’t have a tourist tax already and when I ask them if it would put them off travelling to Scotland not one has said it would deter them as it only amounts to an extra £1 or £2 per night. They see the need for investment in roads / toilets / parking facilities etc especially in hot spots like Skye - most European countries charge a tourist tax of some kind, but let’s make sure ours is ring fenced to benefit the sector and not diverted to general fund

how do you define tourists from visitors? this is an incomer levy, what about people on business, family visiting family, Scottish/Uk tax payers, workmen visiting to carry out works in remote areas, engineers servicing wind turbines? there are many reasons for visiting tourist areas of Scotland, not just tourism. We will discourage genuine visitors, especially to islands as the travel costs are so high already, its cheaper to visit Europe than to visit Scotland. We will reduce visitor numbers and these costs will be passed on to the visitors in the long run as they need to be recouped somewhere along the line.

This proposed levy is a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. There were nothing like this number of tourists 30 years ago. 30 years ago, a tourist could find a nice, quiet, spot, to responsibly camp, overnight - but now, wealthy NIMBYs have built residential properties on, or very near to, traditional, quiet, roadside camping spots and, of course, these NIMBYs don't want 'riff raff' campers near their properties. Now, responsible campers have to go North of the Great Glen to find any prospect of solitude. The wild places of Scotland are rapidly diminishing - perhaps the better solution is to cure the problem at source by dissuading so many visitors - remove the road signs which popularise the honeypots such as the Fairy Pools and Old Man of Storr on Skye, take down the North Coast 500 signs (I remember the Applecross peninsular road being built from the old cyle track - it was never intended for use by hundreds (thousands?) of tourists). If it is desired to raise money, then approach/tax the social media giants who have facilitated the popularisation of these honeypots via their platforms. Alternatively, dilute the problem - put pressure on the England and Wales Governments to introduce an equivalent to the Land Reform Act (Scotland) so that visitor numbers can be dispersed more evenly over the enitire UK? - which should also mitigate CO2 generation by reducing the necessity to drive so far to find somewhere rural to visit. Collecting the levy to fund tourist infrastructure will only prolong, or exacerbate, the current problems. Protecting the environment must have priority - there is no Planet B! Dissuade the tourists!

It should apply on a National basis, otherwise you will end up with 32 versions, which will be unfair and confusing and will also put off visitors and residents alike for travelling around Scotland.

Residents should not be charged this levy if they are using accommodation in their own region. A simple proof of address via council tax letter or drivers licence should confirm this. Monies raised by a Visitor levy MUST be used in that local area to make improvements to enhance and maintain the visitor experience, such as public toilets, chemical waste disposal, litter bins and litter clearance, signage, and to some extent potholes where tourist traffic is high -particularly NC500 where use of motorhomes is exploding year on year. Motorhomes and campervans should be forbidden to overnight park on laybys and verges, unless specifically allocated for them with clear signage. In all other instances they should only be allowed to stay overnight at designated campsites and pay the visitor vevy.

Great care needs to be taken that this levy does not motivate local authorities to increase the current proliferation of 'no overnight staying' road signs which intimidate responsible campers to 'move on' to overnight elsewhere (in a building, or on a camp site), only, perhaps, to return the next day to the place that they were intimidated to 'move on' from, thus putting uncessary CO2 into the atmosphere from the fossil fuel which have had to otherwise unnecessarily burn.

The proposal is unjustified and places an unnecessary cost on accommodation providers who will have to collect the tax on behalf of the council. The problem could be far easier addressed by a congestion charge which would also pick up on coach tours visiting for a day. Such a congestion charge would be easy to collect with ANR cameras on the Skye Bridge and routes into Edinburgh and other high pressure areas. Overall Scotland needs tourism and the increased costs to visitors will put Scotland as a whole at a disadvantage in attracting guests; this will impact employment in the many fragile and vulnerable rural communities of Scotland

This will be just one more way of making prospecive guests think again about visitng our beloved area. As a self catering home owner I have already had the daunting and expensive task of obtaing a Short Term Let Licence. It is very short sighted of the Scottish Govenment to be adding yet another cost onto visitors when, as we are all aware, there is a squeeze on everyones household expenditure. At this moment in time the Scottish Parliament should be giving incentives to visitors not burdening them with even more costs. I urge you to reconsider this unfair charge.

Appropriate for visitors to contibute to the local economy and pay for local services.

the government are already causing chaos and hardship in rural areas which rely on tourism by introducing the short term let license. To add to this they now intend to make it even more expensive for the visitor to come to "holiday at home" - many folk will just go elsewhere! As and how they would like to use it? Please get the SSTL sorted out first!!

I agree with dannorm's comments. The money raised must be ring-fenced to directly benefit both tourists and residents. In particular the poor provision of PUBLIC TOILETS which have been closed to save money, is a disgrace. The scheme to try and get cafe owners, etc. to let the public use their facilities is a farce. And what tourists are going to go into a public library or office to use the facilities, as has been suggested? This should be a core Council priority by which visitors will judge the city.

The Highlands are very busy in high season and this means extra pressure on local services and infrastructures. It seems only right that a portion of these ongoing costs are met by the guests who provide us with a living for the benefit of all. The guest who has a lovely and safe place to visit, us as hosts so that we can have a price-point that is value for money and provides an adequate income and everyone in the area who live with the high volumes associated with our tourism season(s). Not always an easy thing.

Local authorities need more money to provide infrastructure for tourists and residents. The disgusting scenes of toilet waste and litter after Covid lockdown showed up some deficiencies here, as does the way some camper vans behave. I don’t see why we should treat foreign tourists and resident tourists differently: if I go on holiday to a different part of Scotland, I understand the need to contribute to that community. It’s fairer for toilets to be free at the point of use, for example, so let’s fund it this way. Most other parts of the world already do this. If you can afford to travel, you should pay this.

I think this tax should not be allowed to happen. Tourists spend a lot of money when visiting already with cost of accomodation, eating out, going to local bars and cafes as well as visitor attractions. All of this already makes an overnight stay expensive. Tourists certainly already more than pay their way to keep many companies solvent and as a result they pay local taxes to their local authority and HMRC. Personally I avoid anywhere that charges this as I am not convinced the money raised is ever used for the purpose given. Tourism may well decline if fhis goes ahead open and ensuring these business pays bus

Yet another unfair tax thought out by a govt who has no idea how important tourism is to Scotland and how it will have a ripple effect on other businesses. Scotland is already an expensive destination in comparison to its European Neighbours who often represent better value for money. This is an attempt by this govt to provide a way for councils to fix the shortfall on funds they didn't receive from Scotgov mostly because they spent it on free bikes and laptops and on keeping Scots locked up longer during the pandemic. Our bounce back of the economy has taken longer and we are facing several crisis which impact businesses across Scotland; LEZ, DRR, HMPA, SLT, as well as a cost of living crisis. The tax will be levied to the domestic market - the biggest market to Scotland and crucial for winter. it will NOT be levied on cruise ships who bring little to the economy, dirty campers, motor homes, camper vans etc. We have already seen several businesses close due to the pandemic! There should have been enough money for councils if Scotgov hadn't spent, £11.5 million on a tram enquiry, £150 million on a hospital that couldn't open, 1/2 billion on 2 ferries still not operational, £9 million hiring another ferry that broke down, spending £1.6 million on staffing costs for said ferries. 1/2 milion on the ferry enquiry which will get us nowhere, as well as several million on court cases they were never going to win. There has been no investment into the infrastructure of tourism for decades and this tax won't be used for that purpose. Why don't you use the £175k Glasgow city council has purloined from motorists with the new LEZ in its first month alone! There is enough ripping off of people in this country with taxes!

Businesses struggle as it is. Many have been forced to close. An STV report states, "Tourism is one of Scotland’s leading growth industries". We want tourism to continue growing so must not put deterrents in the way. Each area gains from tourism as it is so we want to encourage more tourists, not to put deterrents in their way.

What needs to be addressed is the amount of camper vans and motorhomes staying in areas outwith campsites and designated areas. Staying in cemetary car parks and unauthorised areas, on beaches and machair, farmers fields and places not designated for overnight stays and causing damage to the environment, emptying grey and black waste in bushes, burns, verges and anywhere rather than pay for disposal. These are the people who need to need to be taxed not those in residential establishments

The system is widely used across Europe & if well administered will be an opportunity to invest in the local infrastructure - roads / refuse / pulbic toilets - needed to support sustainabile tourism. Vital that funds raised are allocated in a transparent way that allows local communities to identify priorities for investment and see concrete benefits of the scheme.

Skye is in desperate need of repairs, including potholes, overparking, dining options, and support services (i.e., emergency responses, garbage collection). We live part time in California, where a tourist tax has been charged on visitor accommodations for many years. Having the tax hasn't deterred tourism; it has helped keep the city clean and safe. It's unrealistic to expect the locals to foot all the bills.

Really disappointed by those people in the opposite column saying that 'Visitors don't pay towards services and should do'. Actually, we do pay already, twice over. Firstly, because our [i.e, taxpayers'] money is already supporting Scottish councils financially. This is because all councils get the majority of their funding from the national government - i.e. from taxpayers. Secondly, regular visitors to Scotland, such as us, already financially support Scottish councils indirectly, too. Whenever we stay in Scotland, we support the local economy by spending money on accommodation, food, other shopping, petrol and tourist attractions. It is partly because visitors like us spend money in these ways that guest houses, self catering cottage owners, shops, et al, can afford to pay business rates to councils. So, having already contributed to the council twice over, we should not have to pay a third time by paying a Tourist Tax as well.

Visitors support local businesses which pay business rates and employ locals. If you really want to introduce a revenue generation for the locality increase VAT and distribute the increase to the local authority. There would then be no extra work for businesses or authorities! Of course Scotland is already more expensive to holiday in than other parts of Europe so perhaps we should be addressing why that is the case rather than putting off tourists!

Tourists undoubtedly place a load on local services and it is reasonable that money should be collected from them to pay for this. A Visitor Levy is more transparent than trying to collect the money through business rates. However, I see it as desirable to exempt from the levy people who are staying away from home but in their local authority area. They are already paying for local services.

I disagree with this because local authorities will already have new additional income from the licence imposed on self-catering accommodation. They haver enough power to tax as it is.

Monies raised by a Visitor levy MUST be used in that local area to make improvements to enhance and maintain the visitor experience, such as public toilets, chemical waste disposal, litter bins and litter clearance, signage, and to some extent potholes where tourist traffic is high -particularly NC500 where use of motorhomes is exploding year on year. Motorhomes and campervans should be forbidden to overnight park on laybys and verges, unless specifically allocated for them with clear signage. In all other instances they should only be allowed to stay overnight at designated campsites and pay the visitor vevy. Residents should not be charged this levy if they are using accommodation in their own region. A simple proof of address via council tax letter or drivers licence should confirm this.

Local councils have best knowledge of visitor numbers and at what time of year.

I think it's good idea. Should a local authority wish to opt out of collecting the money, that is fine for them and their electorate.

Just because you can does not mean you should. We were there during June 2023 and Scotland is rapidly reaching the point to where we will not be returning.

The tourism industry in Scotland has been hit with one blow after another in the last three years, including covid, the cost-of-living crisis and a raft of punitive-seeming new legislation. Tourism is a mainstay of the Scottish economy - so very many livelihoods depend on it, directly and indirectly - yet the tourism sector appears to be increasingly undermined by the Scottish Government, rather than supported by it. Local councils are suffering from an acute lack of funding, so the urge to squeeze every penny from the levy - no matter the harms associated with the charge - could prove irresistable. Likewise local councils diverting the monies accrued away from the intended uses would seem a real possibility. Visitors within and beyond Scotland might well chose to holiday in other destinations if the levy were introduced and it's possible substantial numbers of small-scale accommodation providers would cease trading, given the admin burden and the possible depression of visitor numbers.

Once again, like with short term lets, accommodation providers are expected to deal with the administrative burden this entails. It will encourage more motorhomes and potentially wild camping into rural areas rather than encourage economic support for small B&Bs and self catering units etc. What suits Edinburgh does not necessarily suit the rest of Scotland. Tourism businesses pay rates that contribute already to support additional services. Our mainstay of visitors is from the central belt of Scotland - why should they by taxed when we already have huge VAT?

Another ill and badly thought out bill / tax. Not every B&B / hotel etc guests are tourists. Why once again is this absurd idea being touted amongst us ? Our country's hospitality, accommodation and lodges sector are on their knees and now the idea is to charge more ! Incompetence has no limits.

Most countries I visit have such a levy and it is used well to support infrastructure used by tourists. Our councils need to be supported in this way.

it works and supports the local economy.. all councils should try to have the one rule though

Killing the already stretched goose that lays the golden egg isn't a great idea

Within some areas, tourism is by far the greater user of infrastructure, roads, waste, public amenities just to name a few. Businesses benefit but locals foot the local council bill.

we have come across similar levies in many other countries. There is great strain on local authority finances and such a levy must help with this.

Visitors use the services provided by Local councils which we pay for in our Council Tax. It is also a common charge made in other countries.

I would like to see people that have Scottish ID be exempt from this tax and feel like this is a non-negotiable. However, whether we like it or not, money needs to be raised to improve the lives of people living in Scotland. This is a less harmful way than other alternatives. I also think that accommodation providers should only be penalised for not implementing, I do not think it needs to be heavily monitored.

In the curent manner it seriously affect the Scottish economy and the welfare of people living in non-heavily tourist rural areas

Some MSYPs agreed with the introduction of a levy and the need to "fully devolve" the decision to introduce a levy to Local Authorities. "Edinburgh may wish for a levy due to consistently high tourism figures, however, other councils may not want to impose a levy in order to boost tourism numbers and increase revenue for local services."

Yes - it brings more revenue into the Highlands for young people. It works in other countries, why not here?

This is another tax on local people who already live in Scotland but who decide to visit family or friends but stay in hotels, or those who decide to holiday locally.

Why should we add more barriers to travel within our own country?

Considering the current cost of travel and accommodation in Scotland, it could discourage not just international tourists but Scottish citizens visiting from other parts of the country. That would encourage more people to travel abroad which is not as environmentally friendly.

A visitor levy contradicts the idea of a "right to roam"

Tourists already invest in the economy through VAT.

This is just another form of taxation but it gives local communities more power

People should be able to travel and explore without additional mandatory financial burden being placed upon them.

The Visitor Levy, which is operational in all major European Cities, would allow the Council to generate income for the city. This could be used to ensure that facilities used by both tourists and residents are well maintained, such as public toilets, public gardens, pavements and pathways, as the increasingly large number of tourists contributes significantly to the wear and tear. Some of the income could also be used to help support the Botanic Gardens and the many galleries which are free for both tourists and public, and perhaps by extending opening hours.

Scottish accommodation providers are already taxed more heavily than in most other European countries, many of which offer a lower rate of VAT for an industry that brings business to the local economy. Further increasing the cost of holidaying in Scotland will make us less competitive internationally and reduce visitor numbers as a result. We are already at a disadvantage due to high tax levels and an additional visitor levy will only compound this.

We have seen what happened to the apprenticeship levy, the money does not get distributed fairly. We have some of the highest taxes in the world. VAT at 20% and another tax that will only hit our industry harder. The Hospitality and Tourism sector is going through one of its toughest decades in history, and this visitor levy is unfair. Unfair as based on a quick easy short-term fix with long-term catastrophic implications for the future. I disagree with this Bill.

Not everyone using hotels are tourists

The area is overrun with people in camper vans/motor homes who park overnight outwith campsites wherever they like. This will not help pay to clear up after them.

The cost of getting to Shetland is already extortionate without this additional cost.

It will give local authorities the choice on whether or not to introduce a levy. Whilst I think it will be workable (and potentially lucrative) for local authorities with high visitor numbers (Edinburgh, Highland etc) I don’t think it will work in areas where tourist numbers are much lower, the tourist season is much shorter and the cost of travel is already cost prohibitive (Shetland, Orkney etc).

• Agree , but with caveats • Lack of confidence in the local authority that it has the ability to carry it out, to administer • The funds would need to be spent on local authority staff to manage it • Missing key accom providers, campervans and cruise ships • How would it affect local visitors staying in their own country • What about contracters? Will they have to pay? • Could a levy be put on recreation rather than accommodation providers

Tourism in the Scotland is already taxed more highly than most other countries through VAT and Business rates alone. In countries which already have a tourism tax, other taxes are considerably lower. The cost of holidaying in Scotland is therefore high and the industry is already at a competitive disadvantage with the majority of other countries. Many tourism businesses are already struggling to survive and more tax means even higher prices for both domestic and international visitors and less profit to invest in businesses, wages and facilities. Domestic visitors and businesses already pay tax to upkeep the services which tourists and the rest of the UK population enjoy so why do tourism businesses and customers need to pay twice? Tourism brings benefits to Scotland's economy and creates jobs.

With this along with the licensing requirement, I do believe that the Scottish government is trying its hardest to completely kill the tourism industry. We have already had to increase prices for accommodation to cover the costs associated with getting a licence now we will have to increase them again to cover this levy. When we charge higher prices we also have to pay more VAT so this is not just going to give the local council money, the uk government will also gain. Is this extra money going to come back to Scotland? I doubt it! We are in a very remote area where there are few options for accommodation but there are also no services for tourists here so I also doubt any of this money would be of a direct benefit to our guests - unless it would be used to put broadband in (any would be good, not asking for high speed just something other than satellite!). Oh and a digital tv signal would be good too! Those things here would enhance the visitor experience, but would also have a big impact on the local community.

it does not differentiate locals going about their lives from tourists nor does it deal with the real problem creators, namely wild campers and camper vans. I recently had to attend Belford Hospital in Fort William and was staggered at the exorbitant price of accommodation. I would not be happy to pay a tourist tax on top of it as I was neither a tourist nor particularly able to pay the prices. This may be a short term problem as, if accommodation prices rise and stay so high, the tourists will not continue coming and word will get around that Scotland may be a beautiful country but has priced itself out of the market.

I read in the Bill discussion paper that Tourist Taxes and Levies are in many places worldwide. What a limp statement to justify bringing this in. They still have the death penalty in Saudia Arabia and North Korea. How aout using that as justification for having it in Scotland. An article in The Scotsman said the Levy income would not be ring fenced. They argued that the Scottish Government will reduce payments to councils and the Levy income could well get woven in to the accounts. This is just a money grab from an inept SNP/Green government.

the accommodation industry already has a plethora of "admin" charges to pay from Short Term letting licence etc. Having had to apply for licenses across 14 councils I have no faith in them producing an easy to use process, at a reasonable cost. And importantly how will they deal with the folks who don't pay, don't register. STLL says that you have to report a property to the police if they don't have a STL licence, you can't even get hold of the police to report dangerous driving on the A9!!

I disagree with this because as an island community , we are limited to number of visitors, we receive due to changing weathers, limitation on berths. This tax would have detrimental impact on our Tourist Strategy which has already been severely impacted on a number of businesses from COVID

Being the nearest location for visitors to reach Loch Ness from all the major transport hubs, we get approx 200,000 of them per annum. We only receive £1800 PA to provide toilet facilities and this is wholly inadequate. Likewise we have a chronic on street parking problem. Since the resolution to these are not covered by any statutory funding, the issues relating to potential overtourism will only worsen. This is a long overdue initiative, widely used throughout Europe. It is unanimously supported by the Dores and Essich Community Council. Regards John Martin Chair

I do not believe the net (financial) outcome after the inevitable mis-management of administering such a scheme will be sufficient to make any difference. How will revenue "earned" in a specific location be invested back? Who collects, how is it processed, how is it managed & who/where benefits. In the highlands the answer to the last question is Inverness. Not where investment is needed.

The STL Licensing has already placed a huge burden on accommodation providers, many of whom are just individuals supplementing their income. The introduction of this legislation had been poorly planned, incoherent and disproportionate to many regions and types of accommodation. The current government has a track record of poorly implemented legislation proposals. This is another bureaucratic burden on small businesses before the impact of STL has been properly assessed.

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Yet again, as in licensing... its the big corps that will be able to sustain these changes and the small B&B's and self caterers that will just go bust and not exist anymore... creating even more problems for the country! Tourism is a great net provider of wealth and in places like Scotland, most of the economy in some areas relies totally on it! So what does the Scot Gov do? Introduces licensing for small acc. businesses and now a proposal for levies

I have put disagree with this, but I actually have very mixed views. A key issue for me is timing - it will come at a time when hospitality is really being hit - huge impacts of cost of living, STL licensing, staff shortages and a downturn in demand. Our need is to lengthen our seasons and affordability out of season is really important but increasingly tough with the huge energy cost rises. On the other hand I really get why local councils need the revenue. It just feels like appalling timing for the hospitality sector.

Just another unfair tax in an already overtaxed Scotland. Councils are broke and it is a way to get additional revenue which will not be used to make improvements. Scotland depends on tourism especially in the rural areas and all the additional taxes, STL Licensing scheme, now this Visitor Levy will seriously damage the tourist industry. The government seem to be determined to ruin tourism in Scotland

Local authorities have to bear much of the cost of maintaining and providing facilities used by visitors but do currently do not receive any of the revenue generated by them.

I do not think that providers of overnight accommodation should be forced to subsidise freeloading, safari-style, planet and community destroying drive-through tourism. This will only encourage more people to drive around in vans park up anywhere they like, and leave their waste behind. Also, in Highland, the last people I would trust to administer this fairly are the Highland Council, who de-fund the rural areas to subsidise Inverness. The whole idea is a complete disaster for those of unlucky enough to live on the NC500.

We already have had to engage in the licence scheme which has cost nearly £3k in planning g fees and other fees. This has led to an increase in prices to end users. It is madness to then implement additional costs to the holiday market as all we will do is deter visitors who will look for better value accommodation elsewhere across England. This then impacts the local area negatively. To do this in a cost of living crisis seems equally mad.

Another disastrous idea by the Scottish Government. 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. Short Term Letting License is a fine example of their incompetence. 32 council’s operating and they are all setting their own requirements and exemptions!!!! Business rates should cover these costs not being filtered away from the area. Collect in the area invest in the area. The levy if introduced must be the same for all areas. Ideas are easy, implementing them and not consulting the people in the industry is unacceptable. It very much feels like “we will listen but ignore” Everyone uses cards so if you collect the levy you have a card percentage to pay. For every £1000 levy you collect you have a 3% cc fee £30 who takes that hit. It shouldn’t count as part of your business turnover. The DRS scheme is another fine example. For it to work it has to be a UK not stand alone Scotland.

This is yet another tax that penalises accommodation providers primarily.

Accommodation providers should be allowed to retain a percentage of the levy to help off-set their administration costs.

The visitors number should be restricted and a levy is one way of doing it. I live in the Highlands. Things have got so bad, we don’t go out in the summer unless we have to, but it’s becoming a 365 day problem since the pandemic. Camper Vans park in the entrance to our driveway and people wild camp on our land. They leave behind a mess including human excrement. 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 here. 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.

The costs of services (road maintenance, public toilets, parks and recreational facilities, rubbish collection and so on) are presently borne by local residents - there is no method for visitors to contribute to these costs, yet they too are users of these services and their visits can be greatly enhanced if such facilities are available and in good condition. It is usual in much of Europe (and certainly used to be in Canada) to pay some sort of Tourist tax.

I totally disagree with this bill, the council gets enough money from charging the locals for parking etc and they have put none of that money back into the area's. I live in Hamilton, you can barely go anywhere without having to pay something to the council and you should see the state of the town, not one penny has been put back into regenerating the area. Shops are boarded up, vacant places everywhere, to name but a few. If you think this bill will sort that out your mistaken. Sort out the Public Procurement spend, and stop wasting money and having to retar the roads everything 3 months, complete and utter waste of money funding a false economy with cheap products. So NO leave the growth area alone, keep the tourists coming. I see so many articles where Britain (including Scotland) is not even in the 10 most visited places in Western Europe anymore, if you want to slip further down the ranks introduce this Bill or maybe just sort out your Budgets and stop wasting people's money on nonsense.

for example the cost of cleaning up after mass tourism events (hogmanay and festival) comes from tourists

have already said it..mealy mouthed....no funds ever go to where its says they willa dn this will simply be another tax burden now being charged and raised by residents and businesses... get on with doign what you shoudl be doign rather than looking for more funds to help the 'losses' spent shall we say and never to be seen again. Tax is the number one priority with Scottish Administration, Independence driving it..... instead of education, NHS, infrastructire to aid the economy

Scotlands tourist industry makes a huge contribution to the economy. In many area it’s critical. The island ferry catastrophe is a great example. Individuals and businesses are already overtaxed in Scotland. Businesses are already struggling to survive with red tape and bureaucracy. This would be the deaths knell for many

being able to charge specific problem areas or honey spots, without burdening other areas is appealing

My visitors are nearly all Scottish, a few are English. Some are on holiday and some need to visit elderly relatvies or attend hospital nearby - we can't really classify these guest groups as 'tourists'. They would not come if taxed to come. We are already in a self catering industry where we are already taxed more just to be able to carry on our business - and now the scotgov want to put off the guests that we are so desperate for.

A small fee would allow infrastructure such as toilets, showers, bins, lifeguard and ranger services to be funded by the people who are using the facilities and not by residents, who should not be made responsible for these tourist related services.

we have to raise cash somehow to improve infrastructure - this proposal targets the people needing the infrastructure and not the long suffering local council tax payers who have been subsidising people's holidays long enough.

Because it is an unfair tax and will not collect any contribution from day visitors who also need all the facilities and won't support local businesses in the way that overnight guests do. The Councils have shown themselves to be incapable of operating the Short Let Licence scheme and they won't be able to run a tourist levy properly. The money raised will be squandered on the council costs to operate the scheme and projects not connected to tourism.

I think money needs to be raised to pay for clearing up after tourists

As an owner of self catering accommodation, we are paying for a license already. The accommodation sector brings in a lot of money to the area which supports other sectors. Burdens have increased significantly since covid and brexit, and it’s more difficult to get cleaners and tradespeople. Tourists react badly to having to pay again once they have already paid. We should appreciate the value the sector brings to Scotland and not bring in laws to discourage tourism.

I agree with it broadly speaking, but I am concerned that this survey forces respondents to provide binary answers and is insufficiently nuanced. For example, I agree with the principle of a visitor levy for genuine tourists, but it must be applied uniformly to ALL tourists, not just those paying for accommodation in hotels or self-catering accommodation, and there should be exceptions for Scots travelling for work purposes or to visit family, etc.

Scottish Community Tourism Network held a Zoom meeting to hear views. 14 people attended. 8 people agreed and 6 disagreed with this point. Comments made were: Breakout 1 • One participant said it seems like a “job creation scheme for councils” • Some participants don’t mind the idea but don’t have trust or confidence in local authorities to run schemes. ‘Would they listen?’ • One participant preferred the idea of a Business Improvement District model (like in Manchester) • There was a fear that a VL could pit one area against another in terms of where money is spent • There were concerns that decisions about where the money is spent would not be open and transparent. • It will be so much work for us (accommodation providers) and will we get this money back? The prices going up will make it less attractive for visitors. Breakout 2 • There is a significant lack of trust in Local Authorities to gather tax fairly and provide effective and timely communications. Councils don’t help voluntary organisations to prepare bids – is this a reflection of how overstretched LAs are? • Some concerns that VLB could act as deterrent to visitors. Also, it wouldn’t capture tourists who stay in one area (eg. a city) but visit other areas on day trips etc. • Small community in Eigg (community owned) – visitors feel part of the community – they already make voluntary donations to support local initiatives under local control – they may be less inclined to make voluntary donations of they have to pay a separate levy. • Arran Trust invests in local community – visitors don’t mind paying a bit extra when they know it’ll make a difference. • Discussions around interaction with Tourism Business Improvement Districts (BID) – and concerns that visitors to these areas could be double charged? Breakout 3 • Great idea but it is targeting the wrong visitors. If staying in overnight accommodation, then visitors are already contributing financially to the area. Should instead be focussing on motor homes for example who aren’t contributing. • Support for the principle. Welcome giving power to the area, but concern about how the funds will be used. • Welcome the capacity to pick and choose what area of a local authority it applies to. • Would be better to focus on placing a charge on things like car parking which impact communities negatively without contributing to them. • General concern about over emphasis on the tourism sector. • Concern about making provision for this at the same time as short-term lets.

I remember some years ago attending an event in Edinburgh to listen to the Mayor of Vevey Montreux explain the merits of their tourist tax/ levy of 6% as operated in that town which supports the famous Zazz festival. All the merits of the tax were explained. When I asked how much the VAT was in Switzerland the reply was no VAT and the speaker was most surprised to learn that tourists already paid a tax of 20% on accommodation in Scotland in businesses VAT registered. So if we have to have this levy it should only be paid in non VAT registered accommodation and should include all modes of accommodation and should be a National flat rate charge.

The Scottish tourism industry has brought this problem upon itself - by capitalising on the improved roads and the recent pandemic enforcing staycations - and thus should pay, itself, for the necessary improvements to rectify the problems which it has created - though, eventually, no doubt the costs will get passed back onto the visitors, somehow.

The problems may be self-limiting - I cannot say that I have ever seen a promotion for Scottish tourism make mention of the scourge of the Scottish midge. Naive first time visitors (newbies) will soon become aware of the human misery which these little blighters cause between May and September and many of these newbies will vow never to return to Scotland again. These harranged newbies may even spread the word to other potential newbies and so help to deter the numbers of visitors. It may only be the new, young, innocent, generations who are tempted to come and they will quickly learn not to come again. Perhaps a contributing solution might be to mandate that anyone promoting tourism to Scotland must make due mention of the Scottish midge and the constraints that the midge puts on outdoor recreation?

Visitor accommodation in Edinburgh is already very high

I disagree with this because accommodation providers have already been hit with increased costs - introduction of STL, increased electric & insulation costs, increased administration costs. In Orkney we only have tourists around 5-6 months of the year unlike the central belt and other cities.

Many communities use community money and volunteers to create and maintain amenities for tourists to use for free. While larger businesses may be supporting their community through donations and jobs, independent self catering lets without a connection to the area are often benefiting from these amenities without making much of a contribution. Perhaps double council tax would be easier to administer than a tourism tax? There should be a way of charging campervans too, as if they bring their own food and drink and don’t stay in a site they may not be adding to the local economy. Any tax should go to improve facilities for residents (tourists will ultimately benefit) possibly even paying for the extra waste disposal and road improvements required as a result of tourism. It should apply to urban and rural areas. I realise I will end up paying this tax when I try and escape from the tourists in my village when it all gets too much, but perhaps I will view tourists differently if I feel that we are all benefiting, not just those with tourism businesses.

It is another unnecessary tax that is being imposed as its easy to shift the burden of administering it onto the accommodation providers. It will not improve the facilities as desired. The majority of visitors to Orkney are here to walk, birdwatch and view historic sites.

I don't agree with this levy if you are on holiday in Scotland you are surporting local areas by using local shops and services we spend 5 months in the Highlands and have done for 20 years+ we are lucky and own a caravan but how long before the levy moves to those it's the thin end of the wedge

visitors to areas do not necessarily stay overnight in accommodation. In 2022 there were 94.8 million day visits in Scotland. Between April and December 2022 there were only 13.6 million overnight visits in Scotland (UK Based figures from Visit Scotland). It would raise far more money to support visitors in Scotland to put the levy on destination providers/activity providers, instead of hitting a very hard and industry once again

I would be less likely to travel if it was made more expensive. Therefore, the tourism industry would not benefit at all from me.

Only if Scottish people visiting their own country destinations are not charged. We already pay extortionate taxes including council property taxes

It is yet one more bit of bureaucracy that will take time and money to administer for councils and accommodation providers alike and which targets tourists who are already contributing to the Scottish economy. What about those in camper vans who contribute very little to the economy, clog up the roads and often leave behind a disgusting mess? And is there a solid guarantee that any money raised will be used to improve or maintain what the country offers tourists?

Many parts of Scotland are suffering from overtourism. Other places with the same problem have been charging a tourist tax for years, so should we. Funds raised should be spent locally. Obvious exemptions being Scots visiting or working in other parts of Scotland.

This is a direct tax on accommodation provides as the costs cannot be passed on to the customer and it is the provider that has to pay. It is also a blatant additional tax on Scottish tax payers as many 'tourists' are Scots! You pay your home council various taxes for public infrastructure and then travel 50 miles to another region and get 'bumped' for using their infrastructure for a couple of days. It is immoral. But of course it is yet another angle to extort money from business. The money will make no difference to tourism and will only help to increase the inefficiency of the state. Business rates have doubled, energy costs tripled, Business taxes increased by 40% and yet the state cannot resist going for another chunk. Well pretty soon the well has to run dry because running a small business in this sector has become unsustainable.

It is a common practice in other European countries, where it offers local authorities an additional potential source of revenue to use at their discretion. Tourism imposes significant demands for services on those LAs which have a high tourism sector relative to their resident populations.

Why only overnight stay? Why not day trippers? I think we know why, because its not a visitor levy but a tax on accommodation.

It will increase costs either for the tourist or for the business owner if they choose not to pass it on. Cities like Venice are hugely overcrowded. This does not normally apply to ascotland

It is yet another Tax to discourage visitors. Dumfries & Galloway is a forgotten part of Scotland and visitors need encouragement to come.

My visitors already pay 20%VAT. There is no indication how much money this tax is expected to raise. Given that it will involve thousands of proprietors raising hundreds of small amounts of revenue the process is inefficient. At present it seems that STL legislation is forcing thousands of proprietors out of the accommodation business. The lessening number of visitors may mean that the current level of tourist provision is sufficient negating the need for this tax rise

it is an added cost which will deter tourists and visitors. It is also an added cost to accommodation providers after asking us already to pay for a license. Who actually benefits from this?

There are more than enough levies on small tourism businesses in this country. Let no one be in doubt that this new burden will not fall wholly on the visitor. As usual, businesses will absorb much of the cost. They must be allowed to oppose this and have their voices heard. Additionally, why have yet another expensive to administer levy when business rates should already be servingvthe purpose proposed above?

Fishers is the largest commercial laundry business in Scotland and we support the Scottish hospitality sector to create unique guest experiences through the provision of fine linens to hotels, guest houses and self-catering accommodation the length and breadth of Scotland. Together, we create a warm welcome for visitors from within the UK and from overseas to Scotland. We are very concerned about the imposition of a Visitor Levy in Scotland as we believe it will without doubt have a negative impact on the hospitality sector. These businesses are still struggling to shrug off the impact of Covid-19 and continue to be affected by the escalation in energy costs and the crisis in labour costs and availability. The hospitality sector is still fragile and is only now seeing the return of international visitors. It is clear that price makes a difference for visitors, from the UK and beyond, and there can be only one outcome from the imposition of a Visitor Levy, which will be less visitors. Less revenue for hospitality venues. Less cash through the tills of retailers. Less fares for Scotland’s trains, buses and taxis. Tourists and business visitors are already contributing to Scotland’s wellbeing through the payment of Value Added Tax on almost all of their purchases. They should not be asked to pay again. Meanwhile Scottish residents should not be taxed yet again for the privilege of travelling and holidaying in their own country. Fishers objects to the imposition of the Visitor Levy. Michael Jones Managing Director Fishers Services Ltd

Tourists and visitors to many areas of Scotland have a very positive affect on the local economy but there is also an added pressure on amenities and local authority services. A tourist fee would assist with this added burden. However income from this must be used directly to improve tourist and visitor experience E.g More waste disposal, public conveniences, general upkeep of public areas within towns and villages. Additional refuse bins at tourist parking areas etc.

its typical mealy mouth and another tax..lets just drive people away

I do not believe this should be a local decision. The time and effort required in this proposal is ridiculous, placed on already overstretched and underfunded local authorities who should be focusing on their core functions - education, social work, road maintenance, etc. This work will have to be self-financing, as I doubt whether Scottish Goverment will come up with any additional funds to run the scheme ( see Short Term Let Licensing arrangements) and the more work involved the higher the tax needs to be. A simple national flat rate applied across all tourists, simply collected by local authorities, would be much less work and be much less costly to administer for all involved. A national consultation should cover any democratic concerns because in reality the levy is coming whether we like it or not. It would however, open up the Scottish Government to potential criticism when the tax is implemented and increased and I suspect the decisions to delegate to local authorities has something to do with not wanting to look like the 'bad guys'???

Another tax on the tourism industry with more work for accommodation providers and doubt we will see any improvements in our rural area.

It’s an unfair tax. Like everything else, it will likely cost more to implement than it raises. Remember the soft drinks recycling scheme or the replacement ferries! It will do more harm than good to our fragile tourism economy

Visitors need facilities such as toilets, public transport, parking places, litter bins, decent roads, information points, made-up paths at beauty spots... Local authorities are best placed to provide these where needed, but need money to provide them. In Europe most places we visit levy a tourist tax; and we enjoy the facilities provided. Locals would also benefit from these facilities. I also travel a lot within Scotland, and would be delighted to contribute to the local authority to provide toilets, decent roads, and litter- free streets. Should Community Councils be included in the decision- making processes of where to spend the money?

the local authority needs to be able to decide how much is needed in their area, as it will vary. However, I disagree that it should simply be 'imposed'. Some input should be sought from businesses and Community Councils

Look to Wales to see if a Visitor Levy attacks visitors, or not. It doesn't.

Another economically illiterate idea from the Scottish Government. The country is crying out for growth and businesses are desperately in need of revenue. Tourism is one of our finest exports and we should be encouraging and not hindering visitors. Arguments that "it is a small amount" or "other countries do it" fail to recognise that the collection and recording of the levy is another burden on hospitality businesses already hit by multiple new regulations that are time consuming and costly to implement. The idea that different councils can charge different amounts simply creates disparities in competition between accommodation venues. Visitors support shops, restaurants, bars, taxis and so many other businesses. Let's welcome them in and facilitate their spending with the people of Scotland and not inefficiently run councils.

The tax will deter the provision of accommodation not only for tourists but those travelling for business or family reasons; it will raise costs and add significantly to administration of providers of accommodation hotels, B&Bs, hostels, caravan parks, camping sites. Councils will also have to provide yet another layer of administarion to deal with the tax.

Council tax isn't enough to maintain everything for the numbers of users of local facilities, down to the basics like roads

95% of all visitors to the business I work in are from Scotland. This will effectively be a tax on Scottish people if done this way, not on visitors. Most other countries apply this tax on departure at airports. I have recently visited another country where it was done on a booking basis but the local population were exempt. I live in Scotland and have stayed in accommodation in this country for city breaks, an overnight hotel stay before going abroad, attend events, attend weddings, funerals and family who were in residential care. As a Scottish taxpayer, I accept paying higher tax than elsewhere in the UK, to live in this country and also accept paying a tax when going abroad. However, being taxed more when choosing to support local businesses while on holiday in Scotland or attending events just doesn't feel right. One of the biggest problems in Scotland is the number of motorhomes and campervans that line scenic areas and dump litter. This will not even begin to address that if it targets accommodation providers only. If a visitor hires a motorhome or campervan in Edinburgh for example and drives to the Highlands, it would be Edinburgh that gains from the tax, not the area 'taking the strain'. Don't see how the highlands and islands for example can benefit from this.

We already have a tax which is under collected - Non-Domestic rates very often attract 100% relief and could provide a much fairer system of tax collection

Visitors need facilities; the local authorities are best placed to know what is needed in their area, but providing these facilities costs money. Visitors and locals alike would benefit from the improvements to amenities, provided by the levy. I would be delighted to be able to contribute to the other areas of Scotland I visit, if it meant there was less litter, better roads, more free toilets...

we spend a lot of time and money promoting our area of Scotland and to be hit with a visitor levy is just going to put people off. If the Visitor levy is foisted on us, as the STL has been, I doubt that all funds raised would actually be spent on improving infrastructure to benefit the visitor.

It is without question that local authorities are struggling to raise enough cash to run services. This tax will potentially boost the income of local authorities who have to provide services over and above those that would normally be required to serve the local population. For example I live in Pitlochry which has a permanent population of circa 2000 people, but in peak tourist season in summer this can swell to circa 10000 people, most of whom still drive on the local roads, use the local public litter bins, generate fresh water and sewerage demand and generally expect the town to be upkept to a high standard. At present, the residents of Perth & Kinross pay for this which is not wholly fair. This tax is progressive, taxing only those who can already afford to pay for accommodation, and similar implementations are widespread across the world. Indeed, when travelling abroad it is a surprise not to have to pay a tourist tax. This does seem like a revenue stream that any council covering popular tourist destinations would be negligent not to implement.

In principle this could be reasonable, however, for the following reasons I disagree. Having local authorities decide on the amount and distribution does not create a level playing field. Cities who have a lower settlement per head of population from SG may see the need to make the charge higher to help their overall budget shortfalls. I also have concerns that it will not be spent on the visitor economy and get lost in general funding. The tourism industry is one of Scotland's key sectors, therefore, casual and confusing taxation in different cities may have serious impacts on our local economies. It feels that no consideration has been given to the long-term implications of such a tax and Scotland's attractiveness to visitors. Strategic thinking beyond the electoral cycle is required. Additionally, most accommodation businesses pay significant business rates. Managing the short-term lets such as Air BNB and ensuring they contribute to the city's economy may have been a more appropriate action.

In our location we already operate a voluntary visitor gifting scheme - see https://www.islaydevelopment.com/become-a-friend - which allows people to retain a sense of connection to the island. It also ensures any funds are directed specifically to work to maintain the island and not get lost in the machinery of government

I do not want to become a tax collector. I already have had to spend thousands on the licence and I do not wish some daft beaurocratic burden. The money will be spent on daft things anyways. TOurists pay a fortune in tax and the money I make get spent on local things and help the community. Tourists will go elsewhere and prices have gone up far too much now due to brexit disaster on or sector.

It is unfair to tax the responsible tourists staying in accommodation they have paid for. What needs to be addressed is the ever increasing numbers of motorhomes, vans tentboxes and car sleepers who come here and park up in lay-bys cemetary and school car parks, private land, common grazings and anywhere they consider 'waste ' ground, and those using tents next to their cars anywhere outwith permitted areas and not in accordance with the SOAC.

An overnight charge is an easy way to collect a levy from tourists. The levy should be ring fenced and go towards improving infrastructure.

We need to charge for all the extra services required eg roads and waste management

Areas that support tourism in Scotland should benefit from a tourist levy to support improvements in the area and to benefit both the tourists AND the local community. The costs of accommodating tourists has been borne through council tax contributions for too long. More footfall, more rubbish, more traffic etc with little or no direct benefit for locals except those who own/work in a local business. Additional funding generated must be allocated to improvements locally eg cleaner streets, better amenities and have a clear benefit to be worthwhile and MUST NOT mean a reduced council budget in these areas. All monies should be ADDITIONAL to current funding and collected/spent on local council priorities as agreed at council level. Edinburgh has had its services pared to the bone for over a decade and this provides an opportunity for a funding stream that would be of great benefit to locals if used correctly and appropriately. I would also like to see those visitors coming by cruise ship pay the levy too as areas they are moored are in great need of additional funding.

Visitor accommodation in Scotland already operates under the highest rate of VAT in Europe. We should not be charging our visitors a further tax. All other desinations with a Tourist Tax have a lower rate of VAT so the total tax on accommodation, even with a Tourist Tax, is still lower that our current 20% VAT.

Because no investment by Highland council has been made and they only spend the money in Inverness

I assume that the owners of the accommodation would be responsible for submitting information fir there local council on when visitors stayed at the accommodation and also for collecting the tax on behalf of the council and I assume we would be expected to do this for free, using our valuable time and no doubt if any errors were made we would then be open to being fined by the council.

I would agree with this if the money is kept within the Lochaber area and not centralised to Inverness.

This is just another form of tax. I note the word 'tax' is not used. A lot of people using accommodation in Scotland are Scots. Why would we agree to tax ourselves even more than we already are?😏

It doesn't include cruse ship visitors who don't stay overnight and is a major issue on Orkney

You are just charging the accommodation owner! We have to pay this out of our dwindling profit. Soon it will be uneconomical to run. Why don’t you set up a charge for camper vans?? They bring nothing to the economy and cause huge problems in our roads. Stop bleeding businesses dry - soon there won’t be any left.

Tourists place additional demands on local authority/public services - such as refuse, roads and transport, crowd control (e.g. crush barriers), policing etc. It seems only fair that the burden of these costs should be shared and not fall solely on local residents.

It will give some additional funds to the local authority to deal with the impact on customers and it is commonly done in European cities and other popular destinations such as ski resorts.

It is another tax aimed at Scottish businesses who operate in a highly seasonal environment. It may lead to different tax charges for different council areas meaning parts of tourism Scotland face competition within our borders and the UK. For the low season it will mean Scotland becoming less attractive to UK operators who can stay south of the border with no tax. For summer season the question will be how do we increase prices to cover ever increasing operating costs whilst also explaining to inbound operators there is now an additional tax charge you will have to add to your inbound group per night in Scottish hotels? They will spend more time in other parts of the UK and Ireland/ Europe and shorten stays in Scotland. Hospitality accommodation sector will not benefit from this charge as it is not UK wide and it will affect associated local businesses. It also raises the question will this local tax cover the thousands of people that visit Scotland on cruise ships in the summer every single day? What is the charge on these people not staying in accommodation but certain very large ports drop off +2,000 people in the summer season which travel by bus to local city centre's. The proposed tax is unfair and targets the accommodation sector, perhaps the easiest businesses to track, with little thought to the value they bring to their community as employers, local community services and providing prospects for future generations.

As usual the Scottish Government are not considering how this will impact those in rural area of Scotland. Why should those who live away from the central be taxed to visit a hospital or access services which can’t be provided in their own council area? Why on Earth would anyone think it’s sensible to tax Scots who make up the vast majority of visitors in rural Scotland to holiday in their own country? We already pay VAT on tourism and hospitality so this is another tax which is likely to cost hard pressed businesses money and time to administer. Most are micro businesses and already struggling with the swathes of legislation that has been heaped on the industry just at a time when we’re trying to recover post pandemic.

Hard pressed local authorities are likely to grab at any scheme by which they can raise revenue - please allow them to opt out but do NOT allow them to set their own rate of tax. This will be complicated for industry and for those who are being taxed.

Scotland has brought this problem upon itself - it has spent £millions from oil and gas revenues on improving the road infrastructure thereby enabling visitors to more easily drive to, and around, Scotland. The 'donkey' visitors are innocent - they've just followed the dangled carrot. Scotland should pick up the bill for the problem it has created, not the donkeys.

A visitor levy is a good way to generate funds for pubic toilets, picnic facilities, maintenance of paths etc. Everyone who can afford a holiday will be able to afford it. Ac council tax is so high, especially when on a low income, you should be excluded when holidaying in your own local authority.

It may go some way to addressing the issues in Edinburgh and major cities where most visitors do stay overnight; however it does not allow for any tax on the cruise ships (or ports) whose passengers over-run some destinations, eg Kirkwall, Lerwick, Inverness/Invergordon, Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire and many other areas. Why not also charge the cruise operators (through the port authorities) on the basis that the passengers are assumed to be overnight in the port, even if they're not. That would be much fairer, would be less discriminatory for the accommodation sector and would allow local authorities to provide the additional facilities (including toilets) required by the huge number of visitors who descend on a port all at one time for a few hours.

4 of us (from USA) are planning a Spring 2024 trip to Scotland. We will be in Scotland for 22 days, and drive from Glasgow, to Ft William, to Skye, to Inverness, to Orkney, to Aberdeen, to Edinburgh, and then back home. Car rental - Almost $4000; Lodging - $4000; add food 22 days; tours' cost - who knows; gas - outrageous!; other purchases etc. We estimate each couple will most likely be spreading about $12,000 each all around your beautiful country. The effect of the money multiplies as it is spent locally again and again, and again. That's what tourism is/does. Tourist destinations do what they can to ATTRACT visitations, not drive them away with petty add ons. From what I'm reading in the "hell no" column, most residents distrust this whole proposal as just another money grab that will continue to grow and grow. THAT'S what taxes do. No matter how it's presented, this add on will be viewed negatively by most visitors. "Iffy" that it will have the effect that's hoped for.😕

• Most people disagree that there should be a levy in the first place and felt that the first question should be ‘Do you think there should be a Visitor Levy?’ Before asking if ‘The La should have the power to charge the levy’. They question who should be responsible for managing and charging a levy. • Lack of confidence in the local authority to manage • Frustration about the introduction of yet more regulations. General feedback of a community, accommodation providers and services for tourists struggling on the back of the pandemic, cost of living crisis, inflation, minimum alcohol pricing and Short Term Lets legislation. People in the meeting explained the challenges they face trying to continue to run a small business with these challenges and how they are aware of local accommodation closures and have concerns themselves. The impact that this has on the wider community and local economy. Older people with small BnB’s of 1 and 2 rooms for example will face big challenges trying to manage the admin of a levy. But also for bigger concerns. • Concern about the local authority making a decision on an area and not how it impacts on local communities. • Concern about how the levy will be managed. A general mistrust in the meeting of how the local authority will manage the lev, ‘will we get better service?’ People were frustrated that Argyle and Bute has one of the highest council taxes in Scotland however services have remained the same. • The local authority will need to put resources into funding an admin post to manage it (taking away from the benefit to services and communities). • Could the income be raised in other ways?

• Would be pleased to contribute to the local economy

This is another TAX calling on us to be the TAX collectors. Our business rates have increased to the point where we loose our SBBS meaning our rates have risen by 87% event though our business remains the same (with higher operating costs). I might think differently if I could trust the money would be spent well locally but when I see the waste and the state of the roads I have little confidence.

Local Authories do not have enough money to carry out essential services

Decisions should be made at the most local level practical

Anticipate high administrative burden Island challenges – additional costs eg ferry National versus local – but still need more detail – power should be local, however, still not enough influence to make a decision Still not recovered from Covid, already expensive with VAT, tax and living compared to other places Other context – Arran debate around tax in general and how its spent – for islands and cost of business on islands Need to understand SG context and how this has been qualified – what does it mean? How will it be delivered? Where has the decision come from? If LA doesn’t have a visitor management plan should they have the ability to charge? – With a visitor management plan LAs would be able to determine the types of accommodation that need to be included. Will it be consistently applied in areas? How does it align with existing gifting systems (visitor gifting scheme Arran)? Will the levy funds be ring-fenced and contribute to specific things/ priorities? Cost benefit – what is value proposition? Why levy tax on a visitor economy – what is the strategic context in this in comparison to other sectors? How will tax be shown on bills?

It should be completely consistent across Scotland, local authority boundaries with different levy's and processes for collecting it would be a disaster

A levy may or may not be a good idea. Most likely it will be of benefit in some areas and dis-benefit in others. The bill only empowers local authorities to charge a levy, it does not force them to. However I think the bill should force local authorities, before imposing a levy, to carry out proper analysis and modelling of the likely costs, benefits and dis-benefits to different communities within the authority. Given the inefficiencies which seem to abound in systems set up within bureaucracies, a large proportion of the tax could be swallowed up administering and enforcing it and the "collectors" would need to be able to retain a proportion to compensate for their costs. If there is likely to be a beneficial income, it should ring fence this and show where it would be spent to provide facilities for tourists or mitigate the detrimental effects of tourism on local communities. Otherwise it is likely to end up being spent on other priorities. Failure to properly assess the effects of the tax could easily result in over zealous politicians imposing a figure plucked out of the air and a tax which is either too high, driving tourists away, or too low where the benefits are only worth a tiny fraction of the costs. Whilst taxing tourists sound like a sensible idea, how do you distinguish a tourist from those traveling in the course of their work or someone from a remote community visiting a city for medical reasons. There are likely to be many dis-benefits to those not involved in tourism.

Local visitors, and the rest of the UK visitors should not be penalised on visting every part of Scotland. They already pay vat and taxes in the UK. Not even happy about it from a vistor from abroad's point of view either. If any visitors come, they would make their trips shorter, so they could spend more time across the border in England.

This could mean different levy's in different parts of Scotland which may impact on where visitors choose to go, it might also mean they prefer to visit the rest of the UK. This worries me being an accommodation provider on an island, with the extra problem of getting visitors here due to the ferry problems, both real and perceived by visitors. If a levy is necessary perhaps it could be applied consistently to international guests on arrival at airports. As others have said not all overnight stays are tourists, living on an island if I had to go to hospital or visit my family in hospital this involves a trip to the mainland, which might involve an overnight stay. We often have to factor a night in accommodation when we visit the mainland and this would be an extra cost.

Holidays in Scotland will become unattainable for many as accommodation prices rise to cover this additional tax in addition to short term let licensing costs.

mealy mouthed and more taxation, stop spending on independence rather than taxing visitors!! and visitors might well be relations visting a sick relative!! how low can you go Come to Scotland where the mealy mouth nation wants to greet with you gimme your money!

I agree with introducing a bill that enables a visitor levy to be charged but I do not agree that the power to do so should be devolved to local authorities who are already struggling with financial and human resources to administer their current responsibilities. Not all local authorities across Scotland fill their constituents with confidence that they manage their resources effectively for the betterment of their communities. Where are the results of the review of existing and successful visitor levy schemes from Europe or further abroad that has led the government to suggest all of the decision making and regulatory responsibility is best devolved to local authority level?

It makes sense to allow LA's to decide if they want to encourage tourism via reduced costs or fund services through a levy.

This effectively will just be another tax for accommodation providers to pay , there is no way it will be passed on to visitors, maybe if vat was reduced to give us competitive parity with most of Europe ( outwith the Scottish government remit I know) then it could be a consideration, as it is I am opposed

It's effectively another tax on accommodation providers. I do not want this levy. We pay high business rates on our accommodation, this is where the income to the local authority comes from.

I am all for introducing a visitor levy as this has not deterred tourists in other parts of Europe whatsoever. The income is badly needed to repair infrastructure and look after natural environment adversely affected by (over)tourism. However, I think councils should not be allowed to opt out. Highland Council is constantly being lobbied and always choses not to interfere with big companies who would be negatively affected by a levy. This area has suffered greatly from the NC500, and funds are badly needed to look after deteriorating environment and infrastructure. Also, the levy should not only be charged by accommodation providers, but should be applied to campervans/motorhomes and cruise ships as well. They tend to unproportionally use facilities without contributing much to the local economy. Charge could be via a system like it is used for road tax for tourists in European countries. The charge could be initially higher than the flatrate for accommodation, to be reduced to the flatrate for every night the campervans/motorhomes stay on a campsite and properly use the facilities there.

Our visitors are already paying enough, by choosing to visit Scotland we should not be making it more expensive

We need visitors to support our economy. This would discourage them. The infrastructure issues which are undoubtedly real would be better dealt with by raising general taxation. Stop starving local authorities of funds.

I agree that a tourist levy should be charged per capita, but not sure local authorities are the best vehicle to collect and distribute it. It should apply to tourists across the board, not just ones using accommodatgion providers. To be clear, it should apply equally to campervan hirers and cruise ship passengers.

I don't think local authorities are best placed to administer this. It should be worked out on a national scale, and be a flat fee per tourist.

The need of repairs is there. We also see overparking in all the area and a better support services (i.e., emergency responses, garbage collection) could be build up. I am from Switzerland but live now in the Cairngorms. In Switzerland a tourist tax has been charged on visitor accommodations for many years. Having the tax hasn't deterred tourism; it has helped keep the Country clean, lucrative and safe. It's unrealistic to expect the locals to foot all the bills.

Visitors use all our infrastructure so should contribute to it's upkeep.

This levy will not help the very rural areas with the most visitor numbers. Most of these visitors are either wild (dirty) camping wherever they like due to the right to responsible access & not the right to roam as most say without actually being responsible and in motor homes/camper vans parking on grass verges ruining the areas for other visitors. How are these tourists going to pay this levy as they are not staying in local accommodation. This government want accommodation providers to take this payment from visitors and be record keepers and are then expected to forward these funds to the local council, do they not realise that these people have enough to do with sorting out things for the recently introduced Shirt Term Let Licences never mind actually looking after their own businesses. And to bring this in just as the country was just starting to recover after the pandemic where so many of these same accommodation providers didn’t receive any payments to help keep them going because many are self employed and couldn’t get furloughed. Never mind that the whole country is suffering in the cost of living crisis and overall costs are increasing. If you want foreign visitors to pay this then why not get them to pay when they land in the country, like the airports etc and let U.K. taxpayers continue to enjoy holiday at home instead of going abroad as it’s generally cheaper even if they have this levy.

We need additional facilities eg toilets and to keep camper vans off the sides of roads. Improvements to parking is required at many sites. It is also noticeable in the Alps that every small town has excellent facilities used by tourists and locals alike.

Many other countries charge foreign tourists and have se monies to provide good infrastructure

Many visitors come to Orkney to visit their family and stay in self-catering accommodation as there may not be space in the local family's house or their family may be in a care home. Those visitors have to stay overnight due to our location as an island and is it fair that they should have to pay a tourist levy when they are not tourists? How would you distinguish them from tourists?

We do not think it is fair to add an extra charge on top of the price paid for overnight accommodation. In Orkney visitors usually come for at least a week and pay to do so on top of having to pay for the ferry or plane. Orkney is not a cheap place to visit. These visitors often come back year on year and spend money here in restaurants and on food as well as on expensive gifts to take home.

Legislation is meant to be island proofed and charging a levy on Orkney's overnight visitors is simply wrong and is not in our best interests. These visitors who take the time to appreciate our islands already have to put up with sharing the peace and quiet with buses full of day tourists but to be charged a levy which is not paid by the day visitor is just unjust.

The policy memorandum is founded on a discussion on tourism. The visitor levy will catch all visitors no matter their reasons for visiting.

Crown Estates Scotland maintain responsibility for all areas of sea, beyond the high tide level. Local authorities have no rights or jurisdiction to impose regulations with regards morings or berthings beyond the high tide level. Ther proposed bill does not make it clear what areas the legislation would apply to, with the risk that a Local Authority could seek to impose a levy outside its designated area.

additional funding will be available to local authorities to fund services which are in higher demand due to increased visitor numbers. The applies in many other European cities and does not deter people from visiting these places, nor will it stop people wanting to come to Scotland.

If this is to be introduced should be national and outside of local politics

How else would this levy be used?

Our council taxes are not sufficient to meet the additional demands of tourists on local services

In my view it is simply a measure to prop up holes in funding so as to conceal the deficiencies of the current government of Scotland that has failed in a decade to match and spend the funds they have to improve the infrastructure and utilise new technology to benefit Scots and visitors.They haven’t even been willing or able to dual the A9.It is appalling that, as ever, the Scottish Government produce the sound bite of an idea then leave it to the local authorities to try to make the devil in the detail and incur additional expense for all involved to implement it.I am sceptical of the intent.

If implemented, this would be the thin end of the wedge. It may start as a nominal fee but will quickly escalate. Very bad idea.

Might not actually raise any more tax and damage the economy. Bureaucratic to collect for all concerned. Makes fragile but a critical business sector even more burdened. Encourages people to holiday abroad.

Scottish residents should not have to pay a levy to visit their own country.

This is just another unfair tax in an already overtaxed Scotland. It is being considered only because Councils are broke and need more revenue. The tax will inevitably increase year on year and be damaging to Scottish residents who take city breaks within Scotland or travel to events. There will be no tangible improvements arising from it, the tax will pay council debt

Many of Scotland's facilities are centralised and overnight accommodation is often required for those needing to travel large distances for access to such facilities, for example, I had to attend hospital in Glasgow, a 1000km round trip. Even shopping is a 300km round trip to Inverness. Whilst accepting that some centralisation is essential, to be taxed extra for accommodation, just because the facilities are not provided locally is unacceptable for the residents of Scotland. Whilst a visitor levy may be appropriate for those visiting Scotland, it is not appropriate for residents where travel to centralised services is unavoidable. Scottish residents should be exempt from a visitor levy.

I wish I could trust my local council to think the matter through carefully and come up with a good decision on what to charge, if anything, as a tourism levy (should ut come to pass), but alas I can't. Overworked, underfunded and no doubt dispirited in many cases, local councils try their best, but poor decisions are very often made

If our tourism and hospitality industry operated with a reduced VAT rate (as do most in Europe) then a tax on visitors could be considered. As we don’t it should not.

Another TAX. Covid, then Short Term Let licensing, then Rate Review, and now this. Are you trying to kill off tourism completely?

How much money will be left after all those small accommodation providers have filled in the forms and sent their taxes to the local authority who then employ people to process it, check it, audit it etc.?

What about outdoor centres, mountain huts etc. Aren't we trying to encourage exercise in the outdoors for physical and mental health. Mountain huts are run by the volunteer wardens - they are hardly going to want the onerous burden of trying to file tax returns of a for example £3 visitor levy on a £7.50 stay.

Visitors should pay for services they are using A levy should be used to mitigate the impact services form tourists, transport & rubbish and roads There is a big impact living in a city with a high number of tourists There is a mental health impact of a high number of tourists in the city centre. It can be overwhelming and anxiety provoking. People have to avoid the centre of Edinburgh because of the extremely large numbers of visitors. It has become unmanageable to some because of the anxiety it triggers and on a practical level it is physically difficult to travel across, either to walk or get public transport. For example, trying to get a bus on a Saturday morning from Meadowbank to go across the centre of the city during the Festival became impossible. Either a bus did not arrive for hours, or it is so busy it takes two or three times longer. The impact on locals on living in a city like this – doing things like going out to eat become more difficult as there are price hikes for tourists. Friends and relatives cannot afford to stay here. Locals should have some sort of benefit/consideration for the impact.

2 people in the meeting disagreed I don't think people who are resident in Scotland should have to pay. We are already impacted by tourism for example having to spend a high expense to stay in local accommodation, can’t afford to holiday in this country Disagree on principle

The devil is in the detail. By making it up to the Local Authority to decide an unfairness is already introduced to the Bill. It could come across as arbitrary. Leaving some areas feeling as though they have been treated unfairly. In European Countries collection of these Tourist Levies are at a more local level. This works as the Communes collecting the revenue understand the needs of their local area and is a lot better system than that being proposed which will have built inequities. Collecting and distributing at a more local level should be examined. This could include Community Councils. After all the Highland Council is the same size as Belgium, and could mean that revenue collected in Caithness is distributed in Skye 100;s of miles away.

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