Should councils put a tourism tax on Airbnbs and hotel rooms?

The public consultation runs from Monday, June 26 until September 1.

A proposed new bill could allow local governments to tax tourists staying in overnight accommodation while visiting Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament is seeking opinions on Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill, which, if passed, would let councils add additional charges to Airbnbs, B&Bs and hotel bookings.

The charges will be calculated based on a percentage of the cost, with each rate being left to the discretion of individual councils.

Parliament’s local government, housing and planning committee has launched a public consultation on the bill, and want to hear from businesses, tourism organisations, community groups, individuals and stakeholders.

The consultation runs from Monday, June 26 until September 1.

After the consultation period, the committee will hear from stakeholders and will produce a report on its findings.

MSPs will then discuss whether the bill should proceed or not, followed by a debate about to bill in the chamber, in order to decide whether it should proceed.

“We’ve now launched a call for views on the Scottish Government’s Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill and want to hear from as wide a range of communities, businesses, tourism organisations and individuals as possible to inform our scrutiny,” committee convener Ariane Burgess MSP said.

“Tourism is one of Scotland’s leading growth industries, contributing more than £4bn to our economy each year, so ensuring these proposals work for those connected to the industry is essential.

“The bill provides a framework for local authorities to decide how money raised should be spent within local communities, how flexible they can be with where and when the levy would apply and whether certain exemptions should apply, all of which we want to gather detailed views on from urban, rural and island communities across Scotland.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Parliament said: “Like most call for views, the committee welcomes the views of anyone with an interest in the subject matter including individuals, businesses, organisations and other stakeholders.

“As individuals may be paying the levy, or interested in how it is applied/spent locally, we want to hear from people all over Scotland including places with high levels of tourism to ensure their perspective on how it might affect them is captured.”

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