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STA update statement to industry stakeholders on City of Edinburgh Council Consultation into Tourist Tax

Created: November 4, 2018
Posted in: Member Benefits, Representation, Self-catering Industry, Tourism Industry

“The City of Edinburgh Council has now launched its formal consultation into a proposed Transient Visitor Levy (TVL) in the city.

As you may know, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that a Scottish Government consultation will be held on a tourist tax during her speech at the Scottish Tourism Alliance Annual Autumn Conference on 1 October.

We are awaiting further detail of the timescale and nature of the consultation but in the meantime would encourage all hospitality and tourism business in Edinburgh to your views heard on the specific proposals City of Edinburgh Council is making around an Edinburgh TVL

It is important for our industry to raise awareness on the potentially detrimental impact such a tax could have on our industry.

While a tourism tax/visitor levy may work well for tourism businesses, destinations and local authorities in other global destinations where the level of VAT on tourism services is lower than that of the UK, the idea must be examined within the context of: the UK having the second highest VAT rate in Europe at 20%; the challenges which exist to the imposition of an additional tax; the impact on price-sensitive visitors and indeed the impact on businesses already coping with the ‘perfect storm’ of rising costs that tourism businesses in Scotland currently face.

Whilst our current exchange rates are currently favourable for our international markets, this may not persist beyond the short-term and the fact remains that around 60% of Scotland’s tourism spend comes from our already squeezed domestic visitors. Any further tax or levy applied could seriously dilute this market.

The UK is second from bottom in the World Economic Forum ranking, 135/136, when measured solely on international tourism price-competitiveness; this is in stark contrast to its overall ranking of 5th in the world when the full range of international tourism indicators are included.

This underlines that the introduction of a tourism tax or any such visitor levy would further reduce the competitiveness of our already heavily taxed sector relative to competitor destinations. Any new tax on tourists or the businesses serving them could ultimately have a potentially devastating long-term impact on Scotland’s tourism industry and local economies which could lead to potential job losses.

Please take the opportunity to make your voice heard here.

We look forward to bringing you further detail of the opportunities to engage in the Scottish Government tourism tax consultation in due course.”

Marc Crothall

Scottish Tourism Alliance

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