Visitor levy (Tourist Tax) consultation welcomed
3rd October 2018
The Scottish Government's announcement of a consultation on the introduction of a visitor levy ("tourist tax") has been welcomed by The Highland Council.
Convener Bill Lobban recently gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee, where he emphasised the importance of tourism to the Highlands. He said: "Tourism is our most important and valuable industry, worth over £1.2Bn per annum to the Highland economy. We have seen significant increases in visitor numbers in recent years and we aim to continue to build on these successful trends.
“I very much welcome the Scottish Government’s plans for a consultation on the pros and cons of introducing a visitor levy. If this consultation exercise is to genuinely look at the all the issues of introducing a visitor levy, then it needs to be wide ranging in its scope and inclusive of both public and tourism operators alike.
“The Highland region is vast and provides the most spectacular scenery you could see anywhere in the world. We want to provide the best possible facilities and infrastructure and whilst we welcome the huge numbers of visitors, this increase inevitably puts more pressure on our roads, parking, amenities and public conveniences, at a time when council resources are stretched more than ever.
“It is clear that we need to increase the resources available to deliver a high quality visitor experience in a highly competitive tourism sector. A visitor levy could help to fund the investment we desperately need."
Tourism is the Highlands' most significant industry generating £1.2billion for the Highland economy and employing over 20,000 people in 2017. The sector has seen growth of a quarter since 2014 and initial indications such as visits to visitor attractions in Highland which were up 12% to the end of July suggest this growth has continued in 2018.
A report will be brought to the Council meeting in December with a recommendation that we engage will all communities, businesses and individuals to gauge their thoughts on the introduction of a visitor levy.
Road users are advised that on Saturday 22 June 2019 part of the C1112 Glen Affric Road will be temporarily closed to vehicles from 11am to 5pm during the Highland Cross 2019 event. The area affected is between the road's junction with the C1110 Cannich - Fasnakle - Kerrow Wood Road and its end at the north side of the road bridge over the Abhainn Gleann nam Fiadh.
People working in Highland trades businesses are being urged by The Highland Council to attend a supplier briefing roadshow event near them coming soon across the region if they wish to tender for future Council contracts. The Council has created a new Trades Services Framework for repair, maintenance and minor works to maintain and improve the Council estate and to help deliver the Council's property maintenance programme for domestic and non-domestic properties.
Steve Walsh OBE has been appointed as the Chief Executive designate for High Life Highland, it was announced today by Donald McLachlan, the Chair of the charity's Board. Mr Walsh will take up post in early September 2019, following the retirement of current Chief Executive, Ian Murray.
Highland Council Trading Standards have been made aware that cold call telephone scammers have recently changed tactics and are now targeting individual bank customers to gain access to bank accounts and clear bank accounts of cash. The so-called "authorised push payment scam" involves a fraudster impersonating a bank representative and phoning an unsuspecting potential victim by telephone.
The Highland Council is asking communities and other stakeholders for their thoughts and opinion on a draft strategy to improve the town centres of Brora, Dornoch, Golspie, Thurso and Wick. The draft Caithness and Sutherland Town Centre Strategy presents several potential actions for each of the town centres.
Highland schools and Police call on people to share information on suspected anti-social, alcohol and drug activity. Highland Council secondary schools in the Mid Highland area and Police Scotland are writing to parents and carers urging them to share any concerns or information related to possible anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drug activity in their areas.
William Gilfillan, Director of Community Services will be leaving the Council on Friday, 7th June 2019. William joined Highland Council from Fife Council in 2000 to lead the New Community School development in Alness Academy.
Highland Council is to seek the views of local communities on a proposal to establish a Gaelic Medium catchment area for Mount Pleasant Primary School. The change is being proposed in line with Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Medium Education.
Re- opening on the horizon for Caithness. Highland Council's Care Learning and Housing Committee today agreed a package of revenue and capital funding which is a major milestone towards the re-opening of Caithness Horizons, Thurso.
The Highland Council's new Education Transformation programme is taking shape with various initiatives put in place to deliver better educational outcomes for young people, as detailed in a presentation to the Care, Learning and Housing Committee today (29 May 2019). The Education Transformation programme has the dual purpose of improving outcomes for all children and young people whilst ensuring that resources are used wisely and efficiently.
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