Accommodation businesses need to be prioritised in Visitor Levy debate


UKHospitality Scotland is urging MSPs to prioritise the needs of accommodation businesses during the Visitor Levy Bill debate in the Scottish Parliament.

According to UKHospitality Scotland, the Scottish Government’s continued support of an 18-month implementation period is “essential,” despite recommendations to shorten it made by the Local Government, Housing, and Planning Committee.

The trade association is also still asking the Scottish Government to take action on cost recovery. According to current plans, the new Visitor Levy charges’ implementation and administration will leave already-strapped hotels responsible for the cost of implementing and administering the new Visitor Levy charges. They are also urging that a cap on levies is imposed, and that any funds raised need to be invested back into the visitor economy.

Leon Thompson, Executive Director for UKHospitality Scotland, said, “Close engagement with business is critical for new legislation like the Visitor Levy Bill. We saw the disastrous consequences when business isn’t listened to during the development of the shambolic Deposit Return Scheme and that must be avoided.

“I’m very pleased that the Scottish Government has taken that on board and already backed hospitality through its support of an 18-month implementation period, in the face of the Bill Committee recommending it being slashed to just a year.

“As the Bill heads to the Scottish Parliament, other business-critical issues like cost recovery and a cap on charges need to be addressed.

“The most logical way to do this would be through a detailed economic assessment of the impact of the Visitor Levy on accommodation businesses, the economy and tourism in Scotland. 

“This would plainly set out the facts of the impact of the levy and can be the basis of a discussion of how businesses can recoup their costs, which is entirely fair and reasonable. UKHospitality Scotland and its members all stand ready to continue to engage with the Scottish Government on the levy’s development.”