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Article published 29/05/2024

Local authorities empowered to invest in tourism

A Scottish Government press release has announced that MSPs have backed legislation giving local authorities a new power to introduce a visitor levy that would raise funding for local visitor facilities and services.

The Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill will enable local authorities to apply a levy on overnight stays with all money raised to be reinvested in services and facilities largely used by tourists and business visitors.

Similar levies already apply in visitor destinations across Europe, including Amsterdam and Berlin as well as in countries outside of Europe, such as Canada.

Local authorities that want to introduce a visitor levy will be able to do so after they have consulted with local communities, businesses and tourism organisations.

An 18-month implementation period will then apply before any local authorities can introduce a visitor levy scheme in their area. This is to provide adequate time for local authorities and businesses to put in place the systems needed to collect and administer a levy.

An expert group of representatives from the tourism industry, COSLA and other partners will continue to work together to produce guidance for local authorities putting in place a visitor levy scheme.

The earliest a visitor levy could come into force would be spring 2026.

Read the full press release on the Scottish Government website

Visitor Levy Expert Group

Find information on the Visitor Levy Expert Group; what it's here to do, who is involved and current activity.

Visit our Visitor Levy Expert Group page

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