Tourist tax needed to bal­ance books, say SNP

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - NEWS -

Coun­cil­lor Max­ine Smith, leader of the SNP op­po­si­tion group, stressed lo­cal au­thor­i­ties need to find ways to be­come more com­mer­cial to bal­ance the books.

She said the coun­cil, which does not di­rectly ben­e­fit from tourism in­come, must foot the bill for roads, pot­holes, lit­ter col­lec­tion and pub­lic toi­let pro­vi­sion – fa­cil­i­ties which tourists ex­pect.

Ms Smith also queried the FSB’s choice of ques­tion. She said if ques­tions were asked such as, “would you like a more qual­ity ex­pe­ri­ence for vis­i­tors,” they might get a dif­fer­ent re­sponse.

She added: “I am sure if ho­tels were much bet­ter in­formed about the ben­e­fits, the per­cent­ages of those in­ter­ested would in­crease.”

Ms Smith also said she is “heart­ened” the fig­ure is now 73% against, which she said is lower than be­fore. She feels the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor may be recog­nis­ing a levy of £1-a-night per tourist would make “lit­tle odds” when they could be pay­ing any­thing be­tween £60 and £250 a night.

Coun­cil­lors have pre­vi­ously voiced con­cerns the £1-a-night could eas­ily be pushed up to £2 af­ter a year, but Ms Smith said con­sul­ta­tion would take place be­fore changes were made.

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