View from the Chamber – week 6

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You might have noticed that the possible introduction of a tourist tax – or Transient Visitor Levy (TVL) – is back in the news.

The Scottish Government’s proposed Transient Visitor Levy (TVL) aims to allow local councils to raise additional income directly from visitors to help address local infrastructure problems.

While Lochaber’s booming tourism industry is great for our local economy; we can all see that our success in attracting visitors increases the stress on our local infrastructure. Our road network struggles to cope with the extra cars and campervans that a busy tourism season brings and the extra volume of traffic increases the deterioration of our roads.

There are, of course, other consequences of a successful tourism sector: The new ‘disruptive’ tourism model of ‘Airbnb’ rentals mean there is a lack of available housing for the workers that the tourism industry relies on, as well as for those in other industries.

But will the TVL penalise some sectors of tourism industry more than help?
There has been widespread concern about the plans from business groups across Scotland and the Scottish Tourism Alliance said the decision over a Transient Visitor Levy was ‘beyond disappointing’ and ‘will deliver a significant blow to our industry’.

Frazer Coupland, CEO of Lochaber Chamber said, ‘The detail of just what is proposed isn’t yet clear – but we’re determined to make sure that the concerns of our tourism members are taken into account in shaping any levy introduced.

‘How any levy is raised is vitally important – we do not want a tourist levy that places an unfair cost and administrative burden solely on accommodation providers.

‘We look forward to being involved in consultations about the levy and will be fighting for the best outcome to benefit our local businesses and wider community.’

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