Pack up any plans for tax­ing tourism

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - AGENDA -

SIR, – I was as­tounded to read in Satur­day’s P&J that Jenny Laing, co-leader of the coun­cil, was sug­gest­ing a tourist tax for Aberdeen.

Is she un­aware that the city and shire are still reel­ing from the down­turn in the oil and gas sec­tor? Ho­tel oc­cu­pancy rates are still wor­ry­ing low and B&Bs are clos­ing at an alarm­ing speed.

We need to en­cour­age tourists, not dis­cour­age them by in­creas­ing their hol­i­day bud­get with an ex­tra bed tax.

Aberdeen city and shire are re­mote from the boom­ing tourist in­dus­try city of Ed­in­burgh and we should cher­ish the tourists who do ven­ture here.

Fa­cil­i­ties which serve tourism are di­min­ish­ing – for ex­am­ple pub­lic toi­lets are clos­ing, and park­ing is dif­fi­cult and ex­pen­sive.

Lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties are hav­ing to pro­vide vol­un­teers to keep toi­let fa­cil­i­ties and car­a­van parks open.

Small busi­nesses are strug­gling as a re­sult of high coun­cil taxes.

In­no­va­tive busi­nesses are needed to add in­ter­est to this area. VisitS­cot­land has closed many of its of­fices.

The tourist spend here is high, pay­ing for ac­com­mo­da­tion, meals fuel, car hire and sou­venir shop­ping and they do not need their spend­ing money de­pleted fur­ther by an un­wel­come tax.

Some coun­tries who have in­tro­duced tourist tax have had to abol­ish them be­cause of the de­cline in tourism the tax cre­ated.

Can Aberdeen city and shire please en­cour­age rather than dis­cour­age tourism? The area cer­tainly needs more in­come to re­place what has been lost by the mas­sive down­turn in the lo­cal econ­omy.

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