Scotland announces plans for new tourist tax

By Harry Kemble
Home » Scotland announces plans for new tourist tax

Tourists could soon be charged a tax for holidaying in Scotland.

Legislation to give local councils the power to apply a visitor levy – or a tourist tax – for stays in hotels, hostels, guest houses, B&Bs, camping sites and caravan parks has been published.

If passed by the Scottish Parliament, councils could tax tourists for staying in overnight accommodation based on a percentage of the cost of the break.

Edinburgh, which hosts several events including the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Festival Fringe that attract thousands of tourists every year, said its proposals included a £2-per-night charge.

The city’s levy would be added to the price of any room for the first week of a stay.

The Scottish Government said that all funds raised must be reinvested into the local community, on facilities and services used by visitors and enhancing the tourist experience.

The tax is part of plans to give local councils more financial flexibility.

An expert advisory group will bring together tourist bodies, including VisitScotland, and local Government to discuss how best any visitor levy can be implemented.

Outside of Edinburgh, all of Scotland’s 31 other local authorities have backed calls for the powers necessary to implement a visitor levy.

Destinations around the world are increasingly considering taxing tourists. Earlier this month, Bali confirmed it was considering taxing visitors up to £80, and Thailand is debating a one-off levy of 300 baht (around £7).  The levy, which had been due to come into effect next month, hangs in the balance with the country’s elections looming.

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