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September 4, 2023
VISITOR LEVY REVENUE RAISED ON SKYE SHOULD BE SPENT ON SKYE
A survey of Skye businesses has revealed overwhelming support for Visitor Levy revenue generated on the island to be administered locally and spent locally.
SkyeConnect – the destination management organisation for Skye and neighbouring areas – carried out the extensive survey in preparation for submitting formal feedback to the Government’s consultation process.
The survey was sent to 1000 businesses across Skye on the 7th of August. When the survey closed on the 1st of September, 170 responses had been received – a response rate of 16%.
Just over 60% of respondents are not in favour of a levy being imposed on all overnight accommodation and 82% do not support the levy being collected and distributed by The Highland Council. Almost 90% of respondents believe the revenue raised on Skye should be spent on Skye, with 82% favouring local administration by the destination management organisation (DMO).
85% of respondents believe the levy should also be applied to campervans, caravans and motorhomes with four out of five respondents supporting the use of number-plate recognition technology to charge campervan drivers.
75% of respondents represented the self-catering and B&B sector. 70% said they do not have the means to collect and administer the levy.
There has been concern within the accommodation sector about the impact of the levy on non-VAT registered businesses. 64% reported that they would take fewer bookings if the levy pushed their business over the VAT registration threshold.
SkyeConnect Chair, Gary Curley, says the business community has spoken and now it is for Government and the Highland Council to amend the Bill accordingly.
“It’s clear that there is general opposition to the current Visitor Levy Bill proposals. However, if it is to be implemented, the business community on Skye insists that revenue raised locally should be spent locally and administered by the DMO. As Scotland’s second most popular destination, Skye faces unique and increased pressures on our environment, infrastructure, and communities. The concern is that substantial revenue raised locally will be diverted into a central Highland Council pot and spent across the region rather than directly benefitting and protecting Skye. Moreover, the Visitor Levy Bill needs to tackle the issue of campervans and embrace technological solutions to ensure they also contribute to offsetting the impacts they have on our environment and infrastructure.”
The Board of SkyeConnect will be submitting a detailed response to the Scottish Government ahead of the consultation deadline on the 15th of September.