This afternoon’s announcement that the Scottish Government will legislate to provide local authorities with powers to raise additional revenues through a Transient Visitor Levy (TVL) is beyond disappointing and will deliver a significant blow to our industry.
The national consultation on a tourism tax, undertaken by the Scottish Government only drew to a close last Friday, thus providing just three days to assimilate and analyse the evidence shared by the many businesses and organisations that took time to contribute to this national discussion through various channels.
A decision of such importance and one which has the potential to cause significant negative impact, not just to businesses who provide visitor accommodation but to all businesses that benefit from tourism economic activity, has been reached prematurely. It will only serve to undermine the confidence that the thousands of tourism businesses operating across all sectors of the industry has had in the Scottish Government, both in its commitment to conduct in depth research and economic analysis and consider views, prior to reaching a decision on one of the biggest threats to the sector.
Whilst we acknowledge the Scottish Government’s commitment to conduct a formal consultation, we sincerely hope that there will be further economic analysis and detailed transparent examination of options to assess the impact a tourism tax will have Scotland’s economy, before any implementation of a TVL be permitted to come into force.
We look forward to early discussions with Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers to establish what conciliatory measures might be adopted following today’s announcement to support a sector experiencing significant challenges in relation to its future growth and sustainability and of course to learn more about the proposals for a formal tourist tax consultation.