SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has said that empowering local authorities to introduce a ‘visitor levy’ (otherwise known as a ‘tourist tax’) will make a big difference for areas where tourism plays an important role.

The Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill will enable local authorities who chose this option to apply a small charge to tourists on overnight stays. All money raised would be reinvested in services and facilities largely used by tourists and business visitors. Similar levies already apply in many tourist destinations around the world, including Amsterdam, Prague, Barcelona and Berlin and Canada.

Councils that want to introduce a visitor levy will be able to do so after they have consulted with local communities, businesses and tourism organisations.

In the Scottish Parliament yesterday, MSPs voted on the Bill, which seeks to fiscally empower local government and strengthen local democracy, with the New Deal for Business and the New Deal for Local Government at its heart. The Scottish Government has been engaging with communities, the tourism industry, and other stakeholders on the proposed levy for a number of years.

Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said:

“It is vital that local authorities are able to take the decision on whether a visitor levy is appropriate in their area, and I hope councils take advantage of the powers within the bill passed by the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

“Tourism plays a vital role in the local economy here in the Western Isles, and it is right that the Comhairle will now have the option to raise some additional revenue to ensure local facilities and services can cope well with the number of visitors enjoying our islands throughout the busier months.”



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