Consultation underway on ‘staycation tax’ in Scotland

The number of people planning and venturing on staycations in the UK has skyrocketed during recent months. The end of lockdown at home means the sights and sounds of a UK holiday have become highly appealing to many – especially given the ongoing restrictions around overseas travel.

In 2018, there were more than 11.8 million domestic visitors to Scotland – a figure that could increase this year and next as more UK travel takes place. Its dramatic scenery and rugged landscapes are a lure for caravan and motorhome enthusiasts from across the UK.

However, a significant spike in caravan and motorhome visitors to Scotland means local authorities in parts of the country are now considering the introduction of a new ‘staycation tax’ that would help to cover the cost of local tourism services.

Businesses in the tourism sector and members of the local community in the Western Isles are being consulted on the proposed Transient Visitor Levy.

MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch Kate Forbes stated in her ministerial foreword to the consultation: “The Scottish government is committed to maintaining and enhancing the tourism sector’s economic, social and environmental contributions.

“Creating a discretionary power to enable local authorities to apply a levy on visitors is a means of allowing local authorities to respond to local circumstances more effectively whilst also allowing local tourism offers to be enhanced.”

A council spokesperson for the Outer Hebrides, or Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, told the Express the new levy could see visitors making a “small contribution” towards the upkeep of services they use.

Exact figures on how much visitors will be expected to pay have not yet been decided, but given the growing popularity of staycations in Scotland, it’s something all caravan and motorhome enthusiasts should be aware of when planning a Great British getaway.

Image credit: iStock/lassman