Stephen Kerr MP, Conservative Member for Stirling, held a roundtable event in partnership with The Campaign to Cut Tourism VAT at the Stirling Highland Hotel to discuss challenges and opportunities for the tourism sector both locally as well as the whole of Scotland.
The event, chaired by Stephen Kerr MP, brought together voices from across the Scottish tourism industry, with a mix of local independent business from the Stirling area as well as wider Scottish Tourism bodies.
As well as discussing challenges and opportunities for the visitor economy, attendees also had the chance to put forward their views on current focus points for the tourism industry, such as the Tourist Tax and the rate of VAT levied on hospitality businesses.
Both VAT and the Tourist Tax are hot topics for the tourism industry in Scotland at the moment. Edinburgh City Council recently voted for the introduction of a bed tax on visitors to the city, despite the majority of the UK’s hospitality industry being against the levy. VAT on tourism has long been a focus point for the industry as the UK is one of only two nations in the EU that does not currently levy a reduced rate of VAT on the tourism industry.
Stephen Kerr MP said :
“We should be very proud tourism industry across Stirling. It is made up of many independent businesses that combine to give us such a high quality visitor offering. The sector employs a huge number of people and needs the support that a cut in VAT would bring. I would also urge the Council to think long and hard before introducing a visitor levy. This may appear initially attractive but the unintended consequences on such an important industry could easily outweigh any money raised. ”
Karen Donnelly from the Love Loch Lomond Organisation said :-
By reducing the rate of VAT for tourism businesses would have the effect of making us more competitive and allowing both domestic and overseas visitors to increase their spend and support Scotland economy.
A spokesperson for the Campaign to Cut Tourism VAT added:
“It was fantastic to see so much support for a reduction in VAT on the tourism sector from so many key voices from the Scottish visitor economy. A reduction in VAT in hospitality sector would bring a £7.5 million boost to the local economy and would create over 11,000 jobs in Scotland alone.”