Speaking after the Scottish Parliament’s Stage 1 debate on the Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill, Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur said:
“Giving local councils powers to address the challenges they face is something instinctively I support. In theory, allowing councils the option of setting a visitor levy to raise funds for investment in infrastructure and services is a sensible measure.
“As things stand, however, the bill brought forward by the Scottish Government is too rigid, overly bureaucratic and unfair in the way it would apply to some parts of the tourism sector and not others, notably in relation to cruise passengers. There is still time to address these shortcomings during the scrutiny process, and I plan to lodge amendments at Stage 2 and 3 in a bid to do this. However, Ministers need to recognise the scale of what will be required if this bill is to provide the clarity, flexibility and fairness that the tourism sector and wider public expect”.