MSPs to vote on plan for tourist tax

28/05/2024

MSPs are set to vote on a plan to introduce a tourist tax in Scotland.

The Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill would give local authorities the power to add a charge to overnight accommodation, similar to what exists in many European countries.

Manchester introduced a £1 per room per night City Visitor Charge last April, which has raised an estimated £2.8m in its first year.

The Scottish version of the tax is likely to be based upon a percentage of accommodation costs, rather than a set charge.

A number of councils, including Aberdeen, were supportive of the idea six years ago.

The new bill would put the responsibility on the accommodation providers to collect the charge and pass onto their local authority.

The bill proposes that each individual council has full control over whether a tourist tax is introduced and what the level of the charge should be.

Could cruise ships passengers face the tax?

The number of cruise calls in Scotland has risen since the pandemic, while more ships than ever are docking at the Port of Aberdeen following the completion of its multimillion pound expansion.

Reports now suggest that MSPs are being lobbied to add a tourism tax to cruise ship passengers, following the likes of Barcelona and Amsterdam.

A Scottish government spokesman said: “We have engaging with the tourism industry and other stakeholders on the proposed levy for a number of years and continue to work with them as part of an expert advisory group.

“We are open to giving local authorities the power to create a cruise ship levy and we are continuing to examine how best to take this forward.”

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