Hospitality must unite to oppose tourist tax in Scotland
14 November 2019
Posted by: Chris Banks
UKHospitality has issued a call to arms for hotels and other accommodation providers in Scotland. The trade body is strongly urging businesses to rally to oppose the introduction of a Transient Visitor Levy in Scotland in the current consultation, highlighting the difficulties it will cause.
UKHospitality 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 Scottish 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 in Scotland.
“We have to make sure the Scottish 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. Whether you are a UKHospitality member or not, please make sure you add your voice to our call. I am urging all accommodation businesses and companies who might be affected, large and small, to act now to avoid yet another tax on their business. We all need to take this opportunity to act together.”
UKHospitality will be producing a toolkit for businesses to register their opposition, including: template press release, response to the Scottish Government’s consultation, letter to MSPs and social media assets.
The trade body is urging businesses to oppose the measure on the grounds that:
· VAT on accommodation in Scotland is much higher in Scotland than other EU nations
· A tourist tax will be a costly and bureaucratic burden on accommodation providers
· It is not currently possible to capture short-term letting properties – giving them an unfair advantage
· It does not deal with over-tourism as it does not the vast majority of tourists who are day visitors
· There is no guarantee that a tourist tax will be used to develop the tourism offer of an area
· It will make Scotland less competitive as a leading tourism nation.
Link to consultation: https://www.gov.scot/publications/consultation-principles-local-discretionary-transient-visitor-levy-tourist-tax/ - Deadline – 2nd December 2019.