Leaders of major hotel and hospitality groups have written to Derek Mackay MSP, Scottish Finance Secretary, voicing strong opposition to Scottish Government plans for a tourist tax and warning of its damaging impact to the visitor economy. The letter (full text and signatories below) has been co-ordinated by UKHospitality, the single, authoritative voice for the hospitality sector.
The Scottish Government is currently consulting on the principles of a Transient Visitor Levy – also know more commonly as a tourist tax – that could be implemented by local authorities.
Last week, UKHospitality published analysis that demonstrates the economic and employment cost of a tourist tax in Scotland. The analysis finds that if a tax was introduced it will lead to a hit to the Scottish economy of over £200 million and the loss of nearly 6,000 jobs. The pain would be felt all across Scotland, but the analysis shows the hardest-hit areas are Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Highlands. The tax will also increase the costs of domestic tourism for Scots and deter visitors from overseas.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said: “The senior-level signatories of this letter demonstrate the level of concern about how this ill-thought through proposal will damage Scotland’s reputation as a world-class tourism destination, increase costs and put thousands of jobs at risk. The hospitality sector is already over-taxed, with sky-high business rates and one of the highest VAT rates in Europe. It is time that this proposal was shelved and for the Scottish Government to discuss with business how we can secure a bright and sustainable future for Scottish business.”