The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), the lead committee appointed to scrutinise the Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1, is calling on the industry to respond to the Call for Evidence after the consultation deadline was extended to 15 September following their request for an extension due to the busy summer season now underway.
The Bill gives local authorities the power to introduce a fee (the Visitor Levy) in all or part of their area, should they choose to do so which would be added to the charge for an overnight stay but they can’t charge different rates based on the type of accommodation, like hotels or guesthouses. They could also apply the Levy in certain parts of the local authority area, but not in others.
Before the Visitor Levy Bill was announced by the Scottish Government, the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) consistently voiced its opposition to plans for the introduction of a levy or tax on visitors, and, following the announcement that it is going ahead, the STA insist that the net revenue raised must be ringfenced for improving Scotland’s tourism offer, and that it must be additional to all current local authority, public agency and Scottish Government spend on tourism. While the STA are committed to working closely with the Scottish Government the body wants to ensure that the tourism industry has “a key role in shaping the development of a levy model and collection system that forms part of the final legislation document.”
The STA said is a statement, “We urge everyone in the sector to submit a response to the consultation. Building on the Local Visitor Levy Manifesto and Recommendations we published at the start of the year, the STA will over the summer be creating an action plan that will set out the recommendations that still need to be acted on and new actions that have since emerged following publication of the Bill to help inform our evidence submission”.
There are a variety of ways to respond to the consultation:
Brief and general comments here
Respondents can leave comments or upload video/audio responses under the following headings: The power to charge a visitor levy; impact on accommodation providers; types of overnight accommodation included in the Bill; the rate of the visitor levy; where and when the levy could apply; requirement to consultation on the introduction of a visitor levy; and money raised should be spent on services used by tourists.
Detailed response form here
The detailed response form has 13 main questions. These include questions about views on the levy; impact on local areas; definitions used in the Bill; levy charging model; exemptions; requirements on local authorities concerning introducing a visitor levy scheme; requirements being made of businesses, admin burden and enforcement; use of the net proceeds of the scheme; regulations; and estimated costs in the BRIA.