The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) has welcomed Cllr McVey’s announcement that tourism businesses in the capital will be invited to take part in a local consultation exercise.
Chief Executive Mark Crothall (pictured left) said: ‘The strength of opposition to the principle of a Tourism Tax across Scotland’s hospitality industry and tourism industry is widespread and I would consider it unlikely that there would be the level of industry support required for this proposal to become policy.
‘The need for Scotland to become more competitive as a tourism destination is greater than ever in relation to our impending exit from the EU and the associated damage our tourism industry is likely to bear as a result.
‘Equally important is for Scotland to be viewed as an attractive destination for both attracting inward investment and creating the right environment for owners to invest into their assets with confidence.’
He explained that tourism in the UK is already globally ranked 135th out of 136 when it comes to price competitiveness, mainly due to the high levels of taxation in the form of VAT, APD and fuel tax: ‘Any suggested proposal to apply a further tax hike on tourists in what is an increasingly competitive global market has the potential to seriously damage Scotland’s appeal as a tourism destination,’ he added.
‘While a tourism tax may work well for tourism businesses in other destinations where the level of VAT is less than half of the UK rate, the idea must be examined within the context of the UK having the second-highest VAT rates in Europe.’