A small charge on tourists can be a huge boost for Scotland’s communities

The Scottish Parliament has voted to pass the visitor levy

Scotland’s new visitor levy will provide a generational change in funding for councils that can see millions of pounds ploughed into supporting the local heroes who make the country a must see destination for tourists from across the world, say the Scottish Greens. 

New homes, better services and improved infrastructure tailored at regional level and for real local needs will not only benefit communities hosting throngs of tourists every year, but will help visitors themselves to enjoy their stays even more. 

The visitor levy - a significant win for the Scottish Greens - will also mark a seismic shift in how the top down funding model for local authorities can begin to be rebalanced towards the greatest needs.

Local democracy spokesperson Ariane Burgess said: “A Visitor Levy might be just a small charge on individuals, but it will deliver a huge funding boost for Scotland’s local heroes up and down the country.

“For the first time it will empower local councils to make spending decisions on key areas of need in their regions, especially for the likes of affordable homes and regeneration work to support workers and communities.

“That will help create attractive jobs, stimulate local economies, ensure that the environment and climate are respected, and ensure locals have a level playing field to invest in important areas. 

“It also brings us in line with many countries in Europe and across the world who have been doing this for decades to ensure that demand never outstrips the needs of those who live in our villages, towns and cities.

“This is a small change that will benefit people and places for generations to come, and just one of many policies coming to fruition now thanks to Scottish Greens.”

She added: “Another important win has been our call for a levy on cruise ships which, as we have seen in recent weeks, provide an incredible challenge and opportunity to those communities on their destinations list.

“But this has to be handled properly, with appropriate legislation and a legal framework that is designed for its purpose. Trying to just somehow bolt it onto the visitor levy, as suggested by the Lib Dems for example, is just plain daft.

“It needs to be properly delivered for absolutely the maximum effect, and we as a party will continue to work constructively to make sure this other vital tool for local councils can become a reality too.”