Sunday, January 19, 2020
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A tourist tax on overnight stays is 'the Scottish Government's initial position,' it has been revealed.

SkyeConnect Board member, Clare Winskill attended a tourist tax or Transient Visitor Levy (TVL) drop-in session.

The session was hosted by Scottish Government officials at the West Highland College in Portree on Tuesday 12 November.  

Clare noted: “I was disappointed to find that on questioning the government’s representatives, the possibility of the TVL being applied to tourism activities other than ‘overnight stays’ appears to have been ruled out for the moment.

"Applying the TVL to accommodation providers alone on Skye runs counter to all we are trying to achieve as a [Destination Management Organisation] (DMO) and that is to welcome visitors to the island to stay longer and experience more.

"Our preference as a DMO is that a national framework for a TVL encompasses visitors arriving on cruise ships, in motorhomes and those just visiting for the day."

A Scottish Government spokesperson told Skye Times Online: "Ministers have been clear that the introduction of this legislation would give local authorities the power to introduce a transient visitor levy (TVL) and that this would not be a national levy, rather it will be for individual local authorities to decide whether or not to apply a charge.

"It is not correct to say the Scottish Government has already decided to implement a TVL on overnight stays or that the possibility of the TVL being applied to tourism activities other than ‘overnight stays’ has been ruled out.

"The consultation sets out that a charge on overnight stays is the Scottish Government's initial position, but seeks views on this, as well as looking to explore the feasibility of extending the levy to other visitor activities, such as day visitors and cruise ship passengers."

SkyeConnect Board Chair, Dave Till, believes no decisions should be made until the consultation process is concluded.

“We welcomed the Government’s TVL consultation and like many DMO’s and tourism businesses we have contributed to it in the expectation that our views would be given due consideration.

"SkyeConnect has made it perfectly clear that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to a TVL will not work.

"A levy on overnight stays may work for Edinburgh but will do nothing to alleviate the problems facing Skye and other remote areas.

"We are also concerned that the funds raised by the levy may go into a national or regional pot.

"Skye is the jewel in the crown of Highland tourism and any money raised here should be spent here.”

The consultation will close on 2 December, 2019.


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