Publication - Consultation paper

Transient visitor levy: consultation

Published: 9 Sep 2019
Directorate:
Culture, Tourism and Major Events Directorate
Part of:
Economy
ISBN:
9781839601095

Views sought on the principles of a local discretionary transient visitor levy or tourist tax.

71 page PDF

1.2 MB

71 page PDF

1.2 MB

Contents
Transient visitor levy: consultation
6. Further Considerations

71 page PDF

1.2 MB

6. Further Considerations

6.1. Messaging and Transparency for Prospective Visitors 

In the different places in Europe and around the world that have introduced a tourist tax, they have done so under a variety of names.  The terms ‘transient visitor levy’, ‘tourist tax’ or ‘visitor levy’ (as used throughout this document) all refer to a charge levied on particular activities, most specifically, overnight stays in commercially let accommodation.  We would like to understand if different permutations of the name might have unintended consequences, for example in not being transparent when translated into other languages or introducing some level of negative or incorrect inference.

Q27: Is the name ‘visitor levy’ appropriate for the new powers proposed in the consultation document? 

Yes

No 

Don’t Know

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Q28: If not, what do you consider to be a better alternative and why?

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

An important consideration for the effective implementation of a visitor levy is the need for transparency around the visitor levy in accommodation pricing. This includes the provision of clear information to ensure prospective visitors are aware of the visitor levy and how and when they will pay this.

Under existing law[29] accommodation providers already must clearly display the price of their accommodation and any VAT which applies to their prices.  It may be desirable for the proposed legislation to impose a similar requirement for display of the visitor levy which applies to the accommodation.

Under existing law accommodation providers already must clearly display the price of their accommodation and any VAT which applies to their prices.

Q29: What requirements should apply to ensure accommodation prices transparently display a visitor levy?

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

6.2. Timescales for Introduction, Transition and Variation

The Scottish Government’s intention is to provide local authorities with a discretionary power to allow them to decide whether to impose a visitor levy in their areas.  Visitor accommodation is often booked well in advance, and in the case of, for example, conferences, this can be several years in advance. 

The importance of a long lead in time was made clear during the National Discussion, to enable the industry and authorities to have time to get their systems in order.  The timescales for Parliamentary scrutiny of a Bill, and for the making of any secondary legislation which may be required, mean this power is not likely to be available to local authorities until the summer season of 2021 at the earliest.  

Accommodation may however be reserved and paid for before or whilst a local authority is deciding whether to impose a visitor levy. This is equally the case should a local authority choose to vary a visitor levy as part of its budget setting process. Therefore, an approach will need to be determined for handling such circumstances that ensures accommodation providers are not having to meet a significant unforeseen tax liability, that local authority revenues are not compromised and that negative messaging for prospective visitors is avoided.

Q30: What, if any, transition arrangements should apply when accommodation is reserved and paid for in advance of a local authority choosing to impose, or subsequently vary, a visitor levy for the period the accommodation is let?  

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Q31.  Should these transition arrangements be set out in a national framework or be decided by local authorities?

Tick one box:

Set out in a national framework

Decided by local authorities

Don’t know

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

6.3. Impact Assessments

As part of the legislative approach we are required to consider a number of impact assessments in order to understand the multiple ways that the new legislation might impact on a wide range of stakeholder groups across Scotland and local communities.

The impact assessments that are required are:

  • Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA)
  • Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA)
  • Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)

A range of other impacts in relation to the Bill will also be considered, including Child Rights and Well Being, Human Rights, Sustainable Development and Environmental.  

We are taking a robust evidence based approach to the development of our impact assessments as well as working in close consultation with key stakeholders and representatives of particular groups that are likely to be impacted.  This is set out in more detail in the accompanying partial BRIA which consider the impact of this proposal. 

The partial BRIA indicates that the main groups that will be affected by a visitor levy are:

  • Visitors (both domestic and international)
  • Tourism accommodation providers and their employees
  • Other tourism businesses and wider economy
  • Local residents and general public
  • Local Authorities

Key types of impact on these groups which have been identified include:

  • Visitor behaviour (spend less, stay less time, go elsewhere)
  • Business behaviour (reaction to levy and reaction to change in visitor behaviour) 
  • Reduced visitor spend and knock on economic impacts more widely
  • Improved environment for local community 
  • Improved perceptions of tourism held by public
  • Increase in revenue available for investment by LAs
  • Reputation of Scotland as a welcoming place

Our partial BRIA indicates that the main groups that will be affected by a visitor levy are:

  • Visitors (both domestic and international)
  • Tourism accommodation providers and their employees
  • Other tourism businesses and wider economy
  • Local residents and general public
  • Local Authorities

Q32: In addition to what is set out in our draft BRIA are you aware of any additional impacts the visitor levy will have for any of these groups? 

Please specify group and additional impact.

Q33: Are there any other groups not listed here that should be given attention in the impact assessments?  

Please list and state how they will be affected.


Contact

Email: TVLC@gov.scot