Scotland has, this week, introduced new legislation that allows councils more freedom to apply new tourist tax on overnight accommodation for tourists.
According to reports, if the Scottish parliament passed the visitor levy bill, it will enable councils around Scotland to apply the tourist tax to overnight stays depending on a percentage of the cost already applied to that accommodation.
The government of Scotland have reported on the new impending change for tourism and insisted that all of the monies raised by the tourist tax will be reinvested into local facilities and services that are substantially for visitors or used by visitors. The intent behind the reinvestment ensures that the new tax will be “enhancing the tourist experience and benefiting local communities and their economies”.
According to the stated rules of the new bill, nearly all types of overnight accommodation will fall under the tourist tax. This includes hotels, self-catering accommodation, and campsites around the country. The percentage rate for the tax will be set by the local councils around Scotland.
Reports state that an expert advisory group will be involved in the implementation of the new levy. They will collate tourism industry bodies and local governments to begin the discussion on the best plan of action and develop national guidance on the new levy.
At its current stage, councils will be required to consult the communities, businesses, and tourism organisations before they implement the visitor levy. They will also be required to consult these groups concerning the usage of the revenue raised by the new tourist tax.
Tom Arthur, the public finance minister, commented on the new tax and said, “Scotland is already a very popular tourist destination and the domestic and international visitors we welcome every year have a significant and positive impact on the Scottish economy.
“Giving councils the power to introduce a visitor levy is one tool that will provide additional resources to continue to attract visitors to Scotland.
“Levies on visitors staying in paid-for accommodation are already used around the world and it is reasonable for local areas to want a small contribution from tourists to help support and sustain visitor economies.”
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