Hoteliers of Scotland express concern over tourist tax

 Wednesday, September 26, 2018 


Hoteliers of Scotland expressConcern is piling on within the tourism industry of Scotland in terms of the prospect of ministers providing local authorities the power to introduce a tourist tax.

The idea has been controversial as a means for councils to finance investment into tourism infrastructure and services. One Highland councillor announced it was urgent due to lack of toilet facilities, as it’s putting off the visitors. Support for a tourist tax has also surfaced in Edinburgh.

Nevertheless, the Scottish Tourism Alliance has called for a national level debate stating that it must be viewed in terms of high tax burden already being imposed on the industry. It observes that the UK has the second-highest rate of VAT in Europe and is concerned about the effect a further tax will have on Scotland’s appeal to visitors.

Calum Ross of the Loch Melfort Hotel said there is “no merit” in the idea, observing that in Germany, a country where tourism tax has been introduced, VAT is much lower. Stephen Owen of St Andrews hotel Rufflets questioned how it would be structured: “Quite often hotels are seen as a bit of a soft target for this,” he said. “There are lots of other businesses that make money from tourists.”

Nicola Taylor, chief executive of Chardon Hotels, stated that the tax burden on the industry is pretty high, noting that the rates bill for one of its hotels in Edinburgh the rates bill is £180,000 a year.


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