Local News

Should there be a visitor levy in Orkney?

The Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament in May 2023.  

If passed, the legislation will give local authorities the ability to add an additional charge to overnight accommodation if they choose to do so. This will be based on a percentage of the cost, with the rate set by individual councils. 

A committee of the Scottish Parliament, the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee, has launched a consultation to find out what people think about this.

Local councils would have the power, if they wished, to tax visitors and this income would then be used to help to pay for services and facilities.

Wales is also looking into introducing a tourist tax. The Welsh Government has already held a public consultation on the proposed scheme.

Key findings from the Welsh consultation include:

  • Those surveyed broadly supported the principle of a visitor levy. A majority (58%) of respondents agree that tourists should contribute towards the costs of maintaining and investing in the destinations they stay in, rising amongst people with lots of tourism in their area – in Wales (66%) and the UK (72%) with only 13% disagreeing.
  • Support for a levy was strongest in areas that attract the most tourists. The survey found that two thirds of people in Wales who reported that they live in areas that had a lot of tourism back the introduction of a visitor levy.
  • Respondents to the survey were more positive than negative when introduced to the concept of a visitor levy in a place where they go on holiday or in their area. 45% were positive, and 25% were negative and positivity increased amongst people with lots of tourism in their area.

Many top tourist destinations around the world also have a tourist tax and Manchester, is the first city in England to introduce one.

MSPs from the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee are holding a private meeting with Destination Orkney today in Kirkwall, 26th June 2023.

It is important, however, that as many businesses, organisations and islanders respond to the consultation which closes on 1st September 2023

Click on this link to access the consultation: Visitor Levy Bill – call for views

Picture of the sycamore in Kirkwall in the town's Albert street

1 reply »

  1. As a visitor to beautiful Orkney, this seems fair to me. Particularly if it is needed for infrastructure.

Leave a Reply