The Member Council of the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) has requested a meeting with the Scottish government for initial discussions around the preparation of the research brief and shaping of a proposed framework for consultation. It believes that any change should only be considered after a national rather than local debate, following independent research undertaken by a suitably experienced firm or SPICE (Scottish Parliament Information Centre) and formal stakeholder consultation initiated by the Scottish government.
The STA has also welcomed a pledge by the Scottish government that it won’t legislate to grant powers to local authorities to introduce a Transient Visitor Tax without the full involvement of the tourist industry.
The STA argues that, while a tourism tax/visitor levy may work well for tourism businesses, destinations and local authorities in other global destinations where the level of VAT on tourism services is lower than that of the UK. It also believes that the idea must be examined within the context of the UK having the second highest VAT rate in Europe at 20%, while taking in the challenges that exist to the imposition of an additional tax, the impact on price-sensitive visitors as well as the impact on businesses already coping with the ‘perfect storm’ of rising costs that tourism businesses in Scotland currently face.
It also stressed the need for Scotland to remain, and become, more competitive as a destination for visitors to travel to and spend money in is now greater than ever in relation to our impending exit from the EU. Applying any additional taxation or levy to visitors in the current economic conditions and tax regimes that are currently in force, it believes, is not the answer.