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Tourist Tax ‘Could Cost Scotland £175m’

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Tourist Tax ‘Could Cost Scotland £175m’

Tourist Tax ‘Could Cost Scotland £175m’
October 04
21:32 2018

UK Hospitality has revealed that the impact of a tourist tax could cost Scotland around £175m, including up to £45m in the capital alone.

Willie Macleod, Executive Director of UK Hospitality, gave evidence earlier today at the Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee in response to the continued efforts of local authorities and COSLA to introduce a Transient Visitor Levy (TVL).

Initial calculations by UK Hospitality’s economic adviser show that Scotland could be at a significant economic disadvantage as a result of the implementation of a tourist tax, with Edinburgh being more than three times worse off should the proposed £2-a-night levy be introduced across the country.

Mr Macleod (pictured left), said: ‘Our preliminary figures show that the true impact of a tourist tax could cost Scotland up to £175m the capital itself £45m. This far outweighs the financial benefits of an £11m revenue that City of Edinburgh Council anticipates will be raised from a £2 a night tax. Critically, the disadvantages would be far greater than the advantages.”

The committee session came after the First Minister’s announcement on Monday at the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) conference in Edinburgh that a national consultation on the idea could be considered. Alongside representatives from the STA, the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers and author Peter Irvine, Mr Macleod gave evidence on behalf of UKH members, the majority of whom remain opposed to the idea of a tax.

Mr Macleod continued: ‘UK Hospitality remains stridently opposed to the introduction of any tourist tax but we welcome the Scottish Government’s recognition that any consultation would examine in detail issues such as its purpose, options to a direct tax on consumers and, critically, impacts on businesses and their customers.

‘With the UK ranked by the World Economic Forum 135th out of 136 countries for tourism price competitiveness, our high rates of VAT relative to our EU competitors remain a significant challenge in encouraging visitors to Scotland.

‘As a result, we believe that applying a further tax will be unnecessarily damaging to tourism and further affect our already poor price offering.’

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Catering Scotland

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