TOURIST TAX: Hard-up council back Highland levy which they say could raise up to £10 million for the region

Visitors at Sligachan in Skye. Pic Willie Urquhart

Highland Council has reiterated its support for a visitor levy, or so-called ‘tourist tax’.

The Scottish Government kickstarted plans for a tourist tax back in 2019 with a national consultation, but the pandemic halted progress.

Now, that process has restarted and a bill is expected to go to parliament in the spring.

Highland Council voted in favour of a tourist tax in December 2019. Their decision followed a consultation which attracted more than 6,000 responses.

Overall, Highland people broadly supported the introduction of a tourist tax, though the council notes that support varied among residents, businesses and visitors.

If implemented, Highland Council believe a tourist tax could raise between £5 million and £10 million for the region.

They say this money could support local communities and develop a more sustainable tourism industry.

In a report to this week’s economy committee, Highland Council officers say they plan to work with the Scottish Government in drawing up the Bill.

Highland Council believes the visitor levy scheme could be up and running as early as 2026.

The council’s economy and infrastructure committee will consider the proposals at its meeting on Thursday 2nd February.

Article by Nicola Sinclair, local democracy reporter.