New research conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reveals that Aberdeen businesses are firmly opposed to Aberdeen City Council’s plans to introduce a tourism tax to the city.
A survey of businesses has shown that 84% oppose the introduction of such a tax, with 72% predicting that a tourism tax would have a negative impact on businesses and the local economy.
Denis Pinto, North East Area Leader said:
“Once again businesses in and around Aberdeen have voiced their concerns on this unwanted and regressive tax.
“Whilst Aberdeen City Council face pressures on their budgets and their ability to provide services across the city, the introduction of an additional tax is not the answer.
“Only last month, figures released showed Aberdeen hotels had the worst occupancy rates in the UK during 2017.
“Historically, demand for accommodation in Aberdeen has been driven by the oil and gas industry and any plans to introduce a tourism tax would hinder efforts to diversify Aberdeen’s economy and weaken already falling occupancy rates.
“Aberdeen must value its tourists and not price them out. Working together with tourism and hospitality businesses, the Council should be an active player in growing the city’s attractiveness to tourists and residents alike and not adding a barrier to those visiting the city.”
Plans for a tourism tax have also been criticised by other industry bodies.
Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), said:
“The STA recognises the need across most destinations for an increased level of long- term sustainable investment, however applying a further cost to visitors is in our opinion not a sensible approach to take.
“The need for Scotland to become more competitive as a destination for visitors to travel to and spend money in is now greater than ever in relation to our impending exit from the EU. Any such visitor tax being applied is counterproductive and could have a potentially devastating long-term impact on Scotland’s tourism industry and local economies."
Fiona Campbell, Chief Executive of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC), added:
“The introduction of a tourist tax would threaten the existence of many small businesses across the Scottish tourism sector.
“The findings of FSB’s survey chime with our own membership which suggests that, if government wants to help Scotland’s vital tourism sector, the last thing it should do is burden it with an anti-growth tourist tax.”
The FSB has today written to the co-leaders of Aberdeen City Council, Cllr Jenny Laing and Cllr Douglas Lumsden with the results of its survey and once again highlighted business opposition to the proposed tax.