Visitor Levy

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

On the 28 May 2024 Members of the Scottish Parliament backed the legislation which gives local Council's the ability to add a tax to those staying in overnight accommodation.

The bill proposes that a visitor levy would be based on a percentage of the cost, with the rate set by the local authority.

Councils will have to consult on the outline of the levy scheme with local communities, businesses, and tourist organisations before introducing a levy. 

Money raised must be reinvested in local facilities and services used by predominately by visitors.

If a visitor levy is approved for Highland, accommodation providers will be responsible for collecting the levy from overnight visitors. We will have a system in place to collect the visitor levies from the providers.

Our plans to introduce a levy

We have a commitment to introducing a visitor levy across Highland. The earliest that we could introduce a levy is 2026, based on the 'grace periods' set out in the bill.

From June to October 2019, we consulted more than 6,600 Highland residents, businesses and visitors to the region on whether a Transient Visitor Levy scheme should be used in Highland and how it might be designed. The results include:

  • Pre-consultation with the tourism industry (40+ contributors) 
  • Online survey results (5,622 responses)
  • Face-to-face visitor survey results (950 interviews)
  • Written submission summaries (28 submissions)

On 9 December 2019, members approved the findings of a public consultation supporting the introduction of a TVL and committed to further work to develop the best scheme for Highland.

View The Tourism Levy Consultation

Local authorities looking to implement a visitor levy need to have regards to the local tourism strategy. Our draft strategy is now available for public comment. The consultation is available for a period of six weeks and will end at midnight on Tuesday 25 June 2024.

Provide feedback on the Strategy

Visitor Levy - Provisional Timeline

  • Visitor Levy Bill Introduction - 24 May 2023
  • Calls for Views Deadlines - September 2023
  • Scottish Parliament Stage 1 - December 2023 to January 2024
  • Scottish Parliament Stage 2 - Spring 2024
  • Scottish Parliament Stage 3 - Spring 2024
  • Commencement of Bill - August 2024
  • Lead-In Time & Consultation Period - 18 months +
  • Levy Introduced in Local Area - 2026

To find out more information on each stage of the bill please visit the Scottish Parliament Website.