Campaign against levy

Hotels lobby group steps up tourist tax opposition

Kate Nicholls

Kate Nicholls: ‘costly and bureaucratic’ (pic: Terry Murden)

A hotel industry lobby group is stepping up its campaign to block plans for a tourist in Scotland.

UK Hospitality claims the “transient visitor levy” would be damaging to the industry at a time when other costs are risinfg.

The SNP government has called for comments on a bill allowing councils to introduce a levy.

Some councils, such as Edinburgh, want to add an extra £2 to the cost of staying in all forms of accommodation, including apartments booked via Airbnb.

However, UK Hospitality, which represents more than 700 UK operators, has described the plan as “a costly and bureaucratic burden on accommodation providers”.

Unfortunately, the government seems keen to burden businesses with even more taxes

– Kate Nicholls, UK Hospitality

UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The introduction of a tourist tax in Scotland, or anywhere in the UK, would be incredibly damaging to the hospitality and tourism sector.

“Unfortunately, the government seems keen to burden businesses with even more taxes. Its introduction, at a time when businesses face so many uncertainties, could be a disaster for many employers.

“We have to make sure the government is in no doubt that we oppose this. We need to make our voices heard collectively and tell MSPs that a tourist tax would batter hotels and undermine Scotland’s reputation as a tourist destination.

“Other businesses that depend on tourism spend, such as other hospitality sectors, would also be affected. The sector needs to present a united front and deliver an unambiguous message.”

UK Hospitality was among a group of tourism and hospitality groups who wrote to Edinburgh City Council last December outlining their opposition to its proposal to introduce a tourist tax.

A spokeswoman for the government said: “We’d encourage as many people as possible to respond to our consultation on the principles of a transient visitor levy before it closes next month, prior to the introduction of legislation.

“This would not be a national levy. It will be for individual authorities to decide whether or not to apply a charge.”

Edinburgh City Council leader Adam McVey said: “Our plans are fair and balanced and provide us with a way to sustain the fantastic success of our city.”

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