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Council considers Highland ‘tourist tax' consultation

10 December 2018 by

Highland Council is to consider proposals for a consultation on a tourist tax in the region that it estimates could bring in £5m-£10m a year.

The council said that a lack of support for further taxation on businesses had led it to consider raising income from visitors through a ‘Transient Visitor Levy' to fund future tourism development.

There were almost 6.5 million visitors to the area spending nearly 12 million nights during 2017. They generated £1bn of direct spend during the year and created an overall economic impact of £1.2bn.

A Highland Council report said: "While this increase is welcome, these increasing numbers of visitors have also put additional pressures on many destinations and on public infrastructure."

It pointed out that while this generated more income for the public purse, taxes are collected centrally rather than locally, whereas the public infrastructure in the area that required investment is generally owned and managed by the council.

Nonetheless it is still considering the scheme and pointed to strong support from locals. A recent engagement survey in the area found that 70% of the 482 respondents reported that they agreed or strongly agreed that a tourism levy should apply in Highland.

Councillors are now due to consider the planned public consultation at a meeting tomorrow (13 December).

Details of Edinburgh tourist tax revealed alongside consultation launch >>

Viewpoint: Hotel bed taxes could backfire >>

Edinburgh's potentially 'disastrous' tourist tax to be decided within a year >>
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