‘Visitor levy’ legislation unveiled by Scottish Government

LOCAL authorities are expected to soon have the right to charge a levy on visitors, to raise money for the upkeep of their urban fabric.

It follows an announcement by the Scottish Government that it has published a ‘visitor levy’ Bill, which will be subject to approval from the Scottish Parliament.

Says the Scottish Government, here: “If passed by the Scottish Parliament, the Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill will give councils the power to apply a levy on stays in overnight accommodation based on a percentage of the accommodation cost.

“All money raised would have to be reinvested locally on facilities and services substantially for or used by visitors, enhancing the tourist experience and benefitting local communities and their economies.

“Under the plans, councils would be required to consult communities, businesses and tourism organisations before putting a visitor levy in place. They would also have to consult on how any revenue raised should be spent.”

The Bill follows a consultation exercise, explained here.

Among the local authorities to respond to the Bill’s announcement is The City of Edinburgh, which has issued an announcement quoting its leader, Cllr Cammy Day, ‘welcoming’ it, following a ‘five-year campaign’.

Says the announcement, here: “The council has produced a substantial body of work to back its case for why a levy is the right move for Edinburgh, including a detailed consultation in 2018 which saw 85 per cent of 2,500 respondents expressing strong support for its introduction. This figure included a majority of Edinburgh-based businesses and accommodation providers.

“It was estimated then that a levy in Edinburgh could raise in the region of £15m per year to invest in sustainable tourism and managing the impact of tourism on the city. The Bill published today stipulates that levies must be based on a percentage of the accommodation cost, and spent of services substantially for or used by tourists.”

Pictured: On Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Picture credit: Place Design Scotland

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